The report by the Productivity Commission tabled on 17 March 2023 makes some important recommendations which if accepted are likely to result in major changes in the Australian migration program. The aim of these changes is to yield better productivity benefits. We shall have a look at these recommendations.
- Occupation Lists – The report recommends a shift away from occupation based lists towards wage thresholds as the basis for employer sponsored migration to refocus the program on productivity. It is recommended that the wage threshold be higher than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and be different for Temporary and Permanent visas. The report recommends the wage threshold for temporary migration be lower than that for the permanent migration. There is also a recommendation that the income threshold for the employer sponsored permanent visas should increase with age with there being a cut off age beyond which these people will not be able to apply for Permanent Residence (PR).
- Abolishing Investor Visas – The report recommends abolishing of the Business Innovation and Investor visa program. It recommends temporary migration to be facilitated for applicants with genuine plans to start a business in Australia. Pathways for Permanent Residency for these applicants would be through the revised Skilled Independent Visa based on the ‘points test’, which better accounts for income levels and age.
- Improving Skilled Independent Visas – The report recommends removing the occupation list based restrictions. The points system should be able to award points for factors associated with financial and employment benefits. The report recommends awarding additional points for those with ongoing employment in Australia according to income levels with different benchmarks for different age groups.
- Meeting Human Service needs – The report recommends introducing a pilot of special permanent visa subclasses for occupations in the human services sector, such as aged care and disability, largely funded by the Government. This is only in case these sectors are facing significant labour shortages. The current TSMIT be imposed for these visas with a condition that the primary visa holder remains employed in the sector for at least 4 years.
- Increasing TSS 482 visas validity period up to 6 years – The report recommends that the TSS 482 visa be increased to 6 years subject to continuous employment with the ability to switch employers under the same visa. There would be pathways available for PR under the revised employer sponsored and independent skilled visas.
- For international students the duration of the Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485) for Bachelors and higher qualifications be increased to up to 5 years subject to proof of ongoing employment above a set wage threshold.
- Switching Employers – The report recommends that the present settings for employer sponsored visas be amended to allow workers to switch employers including permitting a short period of unemployment while looking for a new sponsor.
If you have any questions about any type of visas please feel free to contact Nevett Ford Lawyers at 03 9614 7111
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