SACES was commissioned by a consortium of businesses and peak bodies to explore national immigration policy in the context of challenges facing economic and business development in South Australia, particularly for regional South Australia (SA). It specifically focusses on barriers that current visa regulations may impose on utilising international migration to the benefit of the SA economy, and in particular any aspects of the migration system that may be less effective for South Australian businesses relative to those in more populous, higher wage, states. In doing so, it not only considers skilled labour migration, but also business, student, and temporary graduate student visa access.
The study is built on a series of interviews with businesses and organisations representing business in SA, in particular in regional areas, but also in and around Adelaide. Additional interviews were conducted with Regional Development Agencies (RDA) in SA, organisations providing or promoting training, especially in the vocational education and training sector; and the Local Government Association (LGA). The interviews were conducted by phone, face-to-face or, in one instance, by email. In addition to gathering the views and experiences of businesses, business representatives and economic development agencies, the study analysed secondary data about key demographic trends in South Australia, the structure of the South Australian economy, including wages and costs of living, demographic and migration statistics.
Due to the complexity of the subject matter, and the significant amount of information collected, the research has been split between three reports. This report (Report 2) takes a closer look at some of the concerns raised by business owners and representatives in the course of the consultations with regard to aspects of the Australian visa and immigration system, the potential impacts of the recently announced changes, as well as the opportunities that immigration may present in light of SA’s economic challenges.
Report 1 provides a brief overview of the national and international evidence on the impact of migration on existing residents. It then goes on to review South Australia’s current economic challenges and reports the experiences, opinions and suggestions we received from our interviews with regional and metropolitan businesses, business organisations and education providers with respect to skill shortages and the challenges of the current visa provisions, including for recent international graduates, from their point of view.