Number of foreign workers emigrating to Australia expected to soar as Labor prepares to overhaul ‘broken’ migration system

The Labor government is reportedly preparing to overhaul Australia’s tired migration system with the biggest shakeup in decades.

The government is planning to ramp up immigration with the biggest overhaul of Australia’s migration system in almost three decades.

The Australian Financial Review published details of an upcoming migration review from the Labor government, which is due to be released soon.

The changes could see a tiered migration system put into place for businesses wanting to hire foreign workers earning both high and low wages, with different requirements applying for each.

The program is also expected to include no skilled occupation list and no labour market testing.

Businesses wanting to bring in high-wage workers will be subject to relatively little regulation, but workers will have to meet a salary threshold to make the cut.

Unions and business groups have clashed over the terms of the new migration scheme, with the former calling for a salary threshold for skilled migrants as high as $200,000 and the latter arguing for a much lower bar of $98,000.

It has been reported the salary threshold for these skilled workers will be as low as $120,000 or as high as $150,000.

The migration overhaul will also allow for lower-paid care workers earning under $70,000 to be sponsored by Australian employers under extensive regulation and union oversight.

The visa process is said to also be fast-tracked to ensure Australia is not losing talent to competing nations such as Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore.

Visa application processing for short-term temporary skilled visas hit an astronomic average of 83 days in June 2022 and fell to 38 days in June 2023, according to data from the federal government.

An interim migration review published in March warned that Australia was relatively weak compared to its competitors in attracting global talent.

Countries such as the UK, Singapore and Canada have introduced innovations including simplified eligibility criteria, generous visa conditions, accelerated processing and a seamless application journey which has seen their attractiveness to skilled workers rise since the pandemic.

Australia’s unemployment rate remains at a near five-decade low, with the jobless rate still at 3.7 per cent.

August labour force figures recorded 65,000 new jobs, in stronger than expected figures.

This increasingly tight labour market has led to increased pressure on the government to overhaul Australia’s migration system.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has previously referred to the country’s migration system as “broken”, laying the blame at the feet of the former government for not attempting to solve “big national challenges”.

Source: Sky News Australia

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