On 1-2 September 2022, the Australian Government’s “Job and Skills Summit 2022”, held in Canberra, brought together Australians in the spirit of collaboration to address shared economic challenges and explore mechanisms to build a stronger labour market and economy.
The national skills shortage was one of the central topics tackled in the summit. Among the solutions discussed, was uplifting Australia’s migration system – the main aim is to bring thousands more skilled workers to Australia.
The summit produced immediate and long-term initiatives that could shape the future direction of Australian immigration.
Australia’s Home Affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, has stated that the Labor government will “move away from the focus on short-term migrants toward permanency, citizenship and nation building.”
Among the immediate actions put forward in last week’s two-day summit, the gathering addressed critical skill shortages and the need to strengthen the migration system:
- Boost the permanent Migration Program ceiling from 160,000 to 195,000 in 2022-23 with 34,000 places to go regional areas.
- Allocate $36.1 million in additional funding to speed up visa processing and resolve the visa backlog.
- Increase the post study work rights for international students with select degrees in areas of verified skills shortages, by two years – this extends work rights for international students in Australia post qualification.
- Extend the relaxation of work restrictions for student and training visa holders until 30 June 2023 to help ease skills and labour shortages.
- Increase in housing by widening the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility up to $575 million to deliver social and affordable housing to supplement the rise in migration.
The Government also announced that they will commit to further work and future action by conducting a review of the purpose, structure and objectives of the migration system to ensure it meets the challenges of the labour market’s future.
Other long-term actions include assessing the effectiveness of the skilled migration occupation lists and looking into expanding pathways toward permanent residency for temporary skilled sponsored workers.
The outcomes of the summit will inform the subsequent Employment White Paper.
You can view the Jobs and Skills Summit 2022 Outcomes Paper at https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/inline-files/Jobs-and-Skills-Summit-Outcomes-Document.pdf