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With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic Australia was forced to shut its borders to the world. As a result, more than 500,000 temporary migrants have left our shores since March 2020. Many of those temporary migrants were skilled migrants. Net overseas migration continues to be in negative territory with a further 77,000 people expected to leave Australia in the 2021-22 financial year.

The lack of skilled migrants and near record low unemployment has resulted in major skill shortages in the Australian economy impacting the viability of businesses.

However, the pause in the skilled migration program has provided an opportunity to have a less constrained examination of the skilled migration program than might ordinarily be possible. In particular, to consider whether the skilled migration settings are serving Australia’s interests and its traditions of being selective about who we take in, while remaining internationally competitive to ensure Australia remains an attractive place for skilled migrants.

In March the Committee produced an interim report responding to specific issues raised by the pandemic and how we might attract outstanding global talent to Australia at this time.

This final report builds on the interim report and seeks to place the skilled migration program in context. While skilled migration plays a role in increasing Australia’s general human capital, it is also one of the policy levers that governments can use to address skill shortages in the Australian economy. Other levers include higher education, vocational education and employment services programs.

Report structure:

  • Chapter 2 discusses issues around workforce planning, skills shortages, the skills lists, the use of ANZSCO, skilled occupation lists and the impact of a pathway to permanent residency for skilled migrants and their employers.
  • Chapter 3 discusses the administration of the skilled migration program with a particular focus on visa conditions and processing. The chapter also discusses migration pathways for international student graduates and intracompany transfers.
  • Chapter 4 provides additional analysis of issues related to Labour Market Testing and the Skilling Australia Fund which were discussed in the Interim Report.
Related Information

Interim report of the Inquiry into Australia's Skilled Migration Program https://apo.org.au/node/311504

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