Australia’s post-pandemic immigration system requires a reset to ensure the nation can effectively enter the global talent race and realise future growth and investment opportunities.
In a new paper ahead of the Federal government’s Jobs and Skills Summit, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says Australia’s migration system has been playing catch-up since borders re-opened and is no longer fit for purpose.
“Businesses are increasingly resorting to labour agreements with the federal government, where standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not suitable to meet their needs,” says CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball.
“There are over 1,000 such agreements currently in place, increasing almost two-fold in the last 18 months.”
Historically, migrants have supplied a third of the increased skills requirements of the Australian economy.
However net overseas migration will not fully recover until 2024, a loss of over 600,000 people since the middle of 2020, 83 per cent of whom are generally of working age.
Temporary skilled migrants now account for around 0.7 per cent of the labour force, less than half the level when temporary skilled migration peaked shortly after the mining boom.
“Furthermore, the administrative visa backlog is significant - blowing out waiting times and requiring substantial administrative effort to reverse this trend,” says Mr Ball.
It comes as global interest in migration to Australia has recovered to levels not seen since before the pandemic.
“Prolonged administrative delays and uncertainty risk cruelling the pitch to prospective migrants at a critical juncture in the recovery of global migration flows.
“This comes on top of negative sentiment regarding Australia’s stringent border policies and lack of income support for temporary migrants during the pandemic, in contrast to Canada and the United Kingdom.”
CEDA is calling for immediate reforms to the migration system including:
“Australia must remain competitive against other destinations as our skills needs will continue into the future,” he says.
“A new immigration system must also be systematically reviewed by an independent institution such as the Productivity Commission with timely data on performance provided by the Department of Home Affairs.”
CEDA Chief Economist Jarrod Ball is available for further comment and interviews.
For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Byrne, Media Manager and Content Specialist
Mobile: 0410 627 250 | Email: email@example.com
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, membership-based think tank.
CEDA’s purpose is to improve the lives of Australians by enabling a dynamic economy and vibrant society. Through independent research and frank debate, we influence policy and collaborate to disrupt for good.
CEDA has more than 620 members from a broad cross-section of industry, government, community and academia. Our members span every state and territory.
CEDA was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland. His legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues to drive our work today.
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.