Permanent migration has been a central feature of Australia’s economic development over the last century. Australia welcomed more than seven million permanent migrants in the last 70 years, of which more than two million arrived in the last decade.

The permanent migration program has evolved over time in line with economic imperatives, political attitudes and societal expectations. However, it has retained a consistent focus on selecting migrants with the skills to complement the domestic workforce.

As we emerge from COVID-19 and enter economic recovery, Australia’s skilled migration system cannot stand still. As our rate of net migra - tion growth begins to turn positive again in 2022, the skilled migration system must be calibrated to support the needs of growing industries, while also retaining community confidence. Access to the right skills at the right time and getting the right people into the right jobs is critical to enabling future investment and job opportunities, creating a vibrant and dynamic economy for the long-term.

Key recommendations:

  • Establish a new government-regulated online skills-matching jobs platform. This would allow permanent skilled migrants to register their skills, and let accredited employers hire migrants from within the platform.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) should comprehensively update the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes to ensure that migrants with vital and cutting-edge skills can migrate to Australia and contribute to the maturing of our labour market.
  • To retain community confidence, the Federal Government should be more transparent about the data and methods used to assess whether occupations are deemed to be in-demand and included on skilled occupation lists.
  • Reduce the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period for unemployment benefits from four years back to six months, to give permanent skilled migrants a better chance to find the right job.
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