The Hon Clare O’Neil, Minister for Home Affairs and the Hon Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, made important announcements during the skilled migration session on Day 2 of the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra on 2 September 2022.
Review of migration system
An in depth review of the Australian migration program was announced, to be led by Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice Chancellor of the Australia National University (ANU). Minister O’Neil indicated that the government will not wait until the review is complete before making changes to the migration program, with some adjustments occurring as the review is progressing. The terms of reference for the review are yet to be published.
Migration program planning levels 2022-23
It was announced that there will be an increase in the permanent migration program numbers for this financial year to:
- 195,000 places in total (up 35,000)
- 34,000 regional places (up 9,000)
- 31,000 State and Territory places (up 20,000)
$36.1 million dollars will be invested in visa processing to increase staff capacity by 500 people in the next nine months.
The Ministers announced areas of priority for the portfolio.
Areas for immediate action
- Increasing the migration program numbers
- Improving the visa processing timeframes
- A proposal for international graduates of Australian universities to be able work longer in Australia, post-graduation
- Extending the COVID concessions on student visa holder work rights until 2023, when they will cease.
Areas for urgent further actions
- Moving away from temporary migration to permanency and citizenship, by developing these pathways.
- Reassessing the occupation lists to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Increasing the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
- Addressing worker exploitation (2023 priority)
- Examining industry sponsorship
- Addressing regional labour shortages.
Other points of discussion
- It was cautioned by various speakers that the TSMIT increases must not be raised so high to exclude occupations in shortage, with a suggestion that it could be indexed.
- Labour Market Testing (LMT) received considerable criticism from speakers.
- International students were recognised as providing a large labour market segment within Australia, higher than the permanent migration program and natural population growth.
Recording of proceedings
The recording of the full Jobs and Skills Summit is available on the Australian parliament House website.
The recording of the migration session is available on the Australian Parliament House website, (commencing at approximately 09:02:25).
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