Massive Emigration of Australian Skilled Workers May Result in ‘Persistent Skill Shortages’ – Parliament Report
Mark Lynn | On 09, Aug 2021
More than half a million migrants, most of whom were skilled workers, have left Australia since early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country. This has caused severe labour shortages in many industries across the nation.
In a recent report, Parliament advocates for changes in Australia’s skilled migration program to prevent the further decline of the local workforce.
The Joint Standing Committee submitted the report on migration with recommendations on how to modify the current skilled migration system and make it a better solution to counter the outflow of skilled labour.
According to the report, the constant emigration of skilled workers since the first quarter of last year has already caused severe labour shortages in several industries such as agricultural technology and engineering.
In the report, Julian Leeser, Chairman of the Committee and the Liberal MP, conveyed that Australia’s net overseas migration is already in the negatives. At the same time, 77,000 more migrants are expected to exit the country within the financial year 2021-22.
Leaser further explained that the current closure of international borders has caused an unofficial suspension of the skilled migration program. This, however, has allowed authorities to more closely analyse the program and propose the necessary changes to make it more effective.
The series of recommendations stated in the report included a proposition for the government to slacken the requirements for skilled migrants in getting approval for permanent residency.
In particular, the report proposes that the Department of Home Affairs modify the visa conditions for overseas workers. Furthermore, an option for permanent residency should be included in all employer-nominated visas.
However, the report also recommended that such options for permanency must include competency in the English language and an age restriction, allowing only applicants that are 45 years old or younger.
Early this year, the Grattan Institute published a report asserting that Australia must give precedence to younger migrants that have better economic potential as this will be a more profitable move for the nation in the long run.
The report from the migration committee also suggested that the Department of Home Affairs look into the current visa processing system and possibly make changes to make it more streamlined and faster for both employers and applicants.
In another proposal, the Department of Home Affairs is urged to improve their customer service by assigning liaison officers and letting applicants talk to officials should they have questions regarding their visa applications.
The report also addresses the matter of international students and proposes to give them the option to stay and gain employment in Australia to help fill the skill gap. A specific proposition was to reduce the work experience requirement of international students from 3 years to 2 years if they wish to apply for permanent residency.
With the recent turn of events, Australia now has the chance to overhaul the skills migration program and end the skill shortage problems before they get even worse.