There is news in the media that the Federal Government is planning to increase the migration cap from the current 160,000 places to 200,000 for the current year. The decision on the exact numbers is likely to be taken in the federals government’s jobs and skills seminar to be held in Canberra on 1-2 September 2022.
This news has elated the business groups who have been struggling for skilled workers since the businesses opened post pandemic. In order to ensure that the unions are on their side, the government is promising them that the government will always prioritise Australians for jobs.
This increase in migration cap is important as majority of business are facing acute labour shortages with some businesses either permanently closing down or reducing trading hours. In a post COVID environment when economies are limping back to normalcy both these occurrences can be dangerous. The increase in interest rates along with the rise in cost of living cumulated by the reduction of employment opportunities due to circumstances mentioned above may edge the economy towards recession.
While the increase in migration cap may be one of the solutions to the skill shortage, this may not give the desired result until till such time as the huge backlog of visas applications are cleared and the present processing times are brought down. To that extend the government may have to hire new staff in the department or redeploy the existing ones.
Another solution which the government is looking at is the requirement of training by skilled migrants to be able to get licenced in Australia. The second largest source country for migration to Australia at the moment is India. Trained and experienced nurses from India have to undergo bridging courses of up to 6 months to be able to register in Australia. This needs to be reduced especially when hospitals and aged care homes are facing an acute shortage of nurses. Re-training skilled migrants who have qualifications and experience defeats the very purpose of the program.
While the increase in migration cap is a welcome step, these enhanced numbers will have to be maintained over the next 3-4 years and the processing times will have to brought down to the 2013-14 for this to have an immediate impact.
The government has a tough task ahead but has made the right first step.
If you would like some more information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Migration Law team for further information.
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