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New migration policy focuses on 'skills in demand'

New migration policy focuses on 'skills in demand'

Businesses will be able to recruit specialist skills with less red tape

Credit: Photo 142839864 © Kseniia Kolesnikova |

The Federal government’s new Migration Strategy will make Australia a globally competitive destination for skilled workers, the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) has stated. 

The Labor government lifted the lid on its new migration strategy to overhaul the current system. 

While parts of the new program will put several new measures on international students and graduates, a new “Skills in Demand” visa aims to help attract new talent.

Businesses will be able to recruit specialist skills with less red tape under the new specialist skills pathway. This will be eligible to applicants earning a minimum of $135,000 in almost any occupation category. 

“They help meet labour needs that exist at an individual firm level and assist companies in acquiring specialist knowledge, niche technologies or research expertise unavailable in Australia, and skill sets not picked up in occupational definitions,” the strategy said.

The new specialist skills pathway will provide a more certain processing time for temporary visas for skilled workers.

“We welcome the adoption of the TCA’s recommendation for a specialist skills pathway with reduced red tape, a path to permanent residency and a seven-day service standard for processing visa applications,” said TCA CEO, Kate Pounder.

“Equivalent economies such as Canada and the UK already have 5 – 10 day service standards and much clearer paths to permanent residency. That has put Australia at a disadvantage globally in attracting top talent. With this change, Australia has confirmed we’re the equal of any nation for attracting skilled workers in high demand.”

The TCA said it supports the changes that will see Australia become more competitive at attracting more workers with global experience, which will make local companies more globally successful, generating extra jobs, growth and a better training experience for local employees.

The changes in the migration strategy are critical to achieving the Australian Government and the tech sector’s shared goal of reaching 1.2 million tech workers by 2030, the TCA stated. 

“Shortages of experienced tech workers can put Australia’s security and economy at risk”, Pounder said.

“For example, a shortage of experienced cybersecurity professionals or Chief Information Officers can make it harder for businesses to protect against cyber attacks, which increased by 23% in the last year. A lack of experienced workers can also hamper the success and growth of local firms seeking to export and make it harder to train and coach local workers.

“For homegrown companies looking to grow globally, it is vital to have someone in your team who has launched products and companies into other markets. 

“That one person can train a team of 100 young Australians. They can teach a young, advanced manufacturing firm how to set up their factory and build a global supply chain, or a software team how to efficiently and safely build a global product. Their experience gives Aussie businesses an edge when taking on global competitors, meaning the company grows faster and more successfully.” 

Pounder highlighted that Australia has a mandate to reskill and upskill 300,000 Australians in tech jobs by 2030. 

“We also have to train and employ 160,000 young Australians to enter the tech workforce. These Australians need access to experienced coaches to develop and support them in their or promoted roles,” she said. 

“Studies have shown that exposing a junior worker to experienced talent generates a 2.6% boost in their annual productivity.

“The tech experts that come to Australia thanks to these reforms will help train and upskill existing workers, which will not only benefit their careers but the economy as a whole.”

The government also opened the accredited sponsor program to start-ups that have received backing from a venture capital fund.

“Start-ups are the engine room of an economy. However, they face the same recruitment challenges as other businesses across the economy, which is why TCA urged the government to allow these firms to become accredited sponsoring employers,” she said. 

“These changes will help Australia become a world leader in cutting-edge technologies like quantum, clean energy and AI.”

Employment agency Manpower Group’s Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2023, claimed 86 per cent of Australian IT employers report difficulty finding employees with necessary skills.

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