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Why the Australian government must adjust immigration quotas to necessitate high-skilled workers in the technological sector?

 Why the Australian government must adjust immigration quotas to necessitate high-skilled workers in the technological sector?

Technology holds the key to an increasingly incredible future’- The statement certainly proves to be true with the expansion of artificial intelligence and machine learning. No wonder, within a period of a decade or two, there have been tremendous advancements in terms of IoTs (Internet of Things), virtual reality, chatbots, facial recognition, robotics, self-driving cars, etc. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the “future is now“, and the innovation and technology industry is ever expanding.

However, the high-tech business sector is encountering some persistent obstacles; the Tech Council of Australia has pointed out that they have been facing issues regarding access to skilled overseas workers. Besides, the aged care and agriculture sectors are being given priority over the tech sector.

Furthermore, participants in the recent ACS Reimagination Thought Leaders’ Summit got the opportunity to hear some significant facts about the industry’s vital challenges. For example, many technology companies are missing out on high-calibre people because they fail to explain the opportunities within the sector. As a result, there are more vacancies than applicants, which is obviously obstructing the business expansion plans.

Just a day ago (1st Sept 2022), the Tech Council of Australia launched a new sub-organisation called the Australian Quantum Alliance (AQA). The Alliance is responsible for promoting, strengthening and connecting Australia’s quantum industry. Also, it will encourage and administer the quantum tech landscape in Australia; it will play a crucial role in helping decision-makers and help the public understand quantum technology. Furthermore, it will provide relevant advice to the government in establishing the Australian quantum industry.

Mr McMahon will run the Australian Quantum Alliance together with Vikram Sharma, the CEO of the Westpac-backed quantum security firm, QuintessenceLabs. The former is

What is Quantum-based AI?

Quantum computing or artificial intelligence uses the principles of quantum mechanics to function efficiently. Furthermore, Quantum computing is a style of computing that relies on the principles of quantum mechanics to function. In classical computing, data is encoded in bits that can be either 1 or 0.
On the other hand, Quantum computing uses qubits that can be both 1 and 0 simultaneously. Quantum-enabled computers allow many calculations to be done simultaneously, so quantum computing is powerful.

Australian Quantum Alliance

So what does this mean?

It simply indicates that quantum-based AI or computing will enable scientists and researchers to attain results much faster in comparison to conventional computers. Besides, it would also help them find different solutions to a problem and simulate complex systems and machine learning tasks.

What are the major issues?

Mr Tom Mcmohan pointed out that the Australian government has been using migration in the areas wherein the pay and conditions are not attractive to Australians. As a result, the industries with the most productive jobs are not getting enough attention.

He said that there needs to be more long-term focus to ensure that with the scarce number of spots available for migration, use them on the best talent and sectors. Besides, a council-commissioned report by McKinsey called “Turning Australia into a Regional Tech Hub” indicated that Australia’s quantum industry is outperforming all other tech sectors, including fintech and media, when it comes to attracting global venture capital funding.

The council pointed out that the Australian quantum start-ups attracted 3.6 percent of global venture capital funding between 2017 and 2021, compared to 2.2 percent for the second-ranked sector, lending tech. Furthermore, Australia’s GDP represents 1.6 percent of the global economy, meaning all those sectors are “punching above their weight.

Canva co-founder and chief operating officer Cliff Obrecht said his company was interested in establishing the quantum tech industry and developing the quantum computer since his company wanted to use quantum-based AI.

But there have been recent changes to Australia’s foreign investment laws, requiring overseas investors in local quantum computing start-ups to undergo a lengthy approval process by the Foreign Investment Review Board. Ultimately, which has made it difficult for quantum technology companies to continue to attract the overseas money they need, said Kate Pounder, the tech council’s chief executive.

Also, the issue of Australia having a foreign investment review system which enables investment from friendly nations is a problem for several sectors in tech. Still, it particularly impacts some of our most strategic sectors, like quantum and AI. Moreover, Australian venture capital companies are not providing long-term funds to deep-tech industries as they focus more on short-term bets.

Australian Quantum Alliance

What does this mean for migrants?

The tech industry is booming, and companies are looking for high-skilled professionals, so people from abroad and neighbouring countries might be interested in overseas jobs. However, unless and until the Australian government makes necessary changes to immigration quotas, it could be difficult for high-skilled tech immigrant workers to attain employability in Australia.

However, the tech industry group will press for changes to immigration quotas that favour high-paid, high-skilled migrants over workers coming in to fill jobs that Australians do not want to do.

Mr Macmohan said the government must fix the immigration problem at the earliest; many vital individuals who advocate for migration workers’ rights do not talk about high-skilled or high-paid jobs. Instead, they emphasise more health care workers and horticulture; he stated that in case the Australians don’t want to work in those sectors because the pay is too low and the conditions are too bad, the solution to the problem cannot be immigration. Instead, the government must improve the particular sectors’ payment structure and working conditions.

On the other hand, the Chief technology officer at IBM Technology, Amelia Forbes, pointed out that the pandemic has triggered the adoption of digital technologies. As a result, many companies hurried to bring forth planned deployments, which also put pressure on the employment market. Besides, it is worth noting that there is a lack of sufficient skilled workers in Australia.

Apart from recruiting suitable candidates, retaining them is equally challenging; Panel members agreed if Australian companies are going to get better at attracting and retaining skilled people, they need to spend more time thinking “outside the square“.

Nayan Chandra

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