Visa Changes Needed to Stem Demand for Workers

Despite international borders re-opening in November, many skilled migrants are yet to return, and Australian companies are feeling the pressure with staff shortages all round.

According to the Department of Home Affairs only 23,000 holders of Temporary Skill Shortage visa have arrived in Australia over the past five months. Over 24,000 people with this visa remain overseas.

With 423,500 unfilled positions, Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) CEO Innes Willox says almost every industry is under pressure and he has called on the incoming government to implement change.

“It’s very clear we just don’t have the people here that we need to fill the jobs that we have,” he said in an article published by SBS News.

“Our economy is continuing to grow and while we’ve had closed borders it means jobs are going begging at the moment.

“Employers are finding it very hard to run their businesses and to keep up without the labour and the skills that they need.”


Mr Willox has backed calls for a simpler and speedier skilled visa application process to help ease worker shortages.

“We need to find a way to streamline that process and not make it so expensive as well.

“We’ve got to think of migration and training of locals together, but migration is a quicker fix and it does have spillover benefits for the economy as a whole.”

In a whitepaper prepared ahead of election campaigning AiGroup wrote, “Skilled migrants generate great benefits to the Australian community as they contribute directly to our national employment and skills base. Many also bring specialist knowledge that provides even bigger benefits by deepening our entrepreneurship, innovation, and international linkages”.


Among key points in AiGroup’s whitepaper were:

  • The permanent migration planning level should be restored from 160,000 to the previous cap of 190,000 places per year.
  • Within this total, even greater priority should be given to the skilled migration stream, which should make up at least two thirds of the migration program.
  • In the longer term, Australia should move to a growth rate target for annual permanent migration that is linked to national labour force growth, instead of a fixed annual number.
  • Temporary skilled migration programs, which help businesses fill skill and labour gaps that persist despite historically high employment levels, should be maintained and improved.

Read the whitepaper here and talk to your local representative.


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