A MIGRATION SYSTEM FOR AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE
Understanding the relationship between shortages, wages, and conditions is necessary to make sure that Australia possesses the social license for migration, shared The University of Adelaide, Professor of Law, Dr Joanna Howe at CEDA’s Migration Forum 2023.
Discussing ‘A Migration System for Australia’s Future’ the session explored findings from the Federal Government’s review of the migration system while outlining key recommendations.
“Coming out of the pandemic, there was data to suggest that almost a third of occupations were in shortage,” said Dr Howe.
“Trying to understand, is that shortage because there isn’t [sic] enough Australian workers or are there not enough Australian workers willing to work at those low wages at those conditions.”
Facilitated by CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento, with Fragomen, Managing Partner - Australia and New Zealand, Teresa Liu and Dr Joanna Howe, the discussion centred on the nexus between domestic employment laws and what Australia is trying to achieve with its migration system, labour mobility, and the need for a more simplified system.
Sharing the business perspective, Ms Liu said that while the current focus of the system is on skilled labour, “reforms that accommodate very much for semi-skilled, lower-skilled sectors, including protection of workers, is really important.”
Watch the full discussion below.
HARNESSING AUSTRALIA'S ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
The Australian economy incurs a loss of $5 billion dollars as a result of refugees and migrants not working to the skill levels they possess, according to Settlement Services International CEO, Violet Roumeliotis AM.
At CEDA’s Migration Forum 2023, a panel discussion revealed setbacks to the economy and migrant population experiences as a result of complex requirements. CEDA Senior Economist and facilitator, Andrew Barker, presented CEDA research on the widening gap between Australian-born workers and migrants – and its ramifications. Talent Beyond Boundaries, CEO, Steph Cousins and Violet Roumeliotis AM, examined areas that require reform.
Speaking of the skills and qualifications recognition system, “it's very bureaucratic, complex and time-consuming,” said Ms Roumeliotis AM.
“This complexity stops migrants from engaging to the level that they should but also stops opportunities to the economy.”
Ms Cousins outlined the Department of Home Affairs’ Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement Pilot, which provides a range of different concessions for people experiencing displacement-related barriers. Speaking of the skills migration process, she said that ultimately “employers are the best determinants of whether a candidate has the skill required for the job...they are the ones grilling the candidate on whether they can do the job."
Watch the full discussion below.
ATTRACTING SKILLS AND TALENT TO AUSTRALIA
The care sector is one that would collapse without migration given the large number of employees who are born overseas, shared Bupa, Managing Director of Bupa Villages and Aged Care, Andrew Kinkade, at the CEDA Migration Forum 2023.
Discussing the realities and strategies for attracting global talent to Australia, the panel was facilitated by Diversity Council Australia, Chair, Ming Long AM with Woolworths Group, Chief Analytics Officer Amitabh Mall, Engineers Australia, Chief Engineer Jane MacMaster, and Andrew Kinkade.
With 62 per cent of the engineering workforce of Australia born overseas, Ms MacMaster said “Australia has relied on our skilled migrant engineers for well over 10 years and that will continue to be the case for many years to come.” She went on to share the importance of nurturing this workforce by tailoring the system to meet specific sectoral and industry needs.
Speaking of Australia’s appeal to global talent, “There is a certain attraction to the lifestyle – there's a natural strength we have,” Mr Mall said.
“But are we doing enough to mitigate the other challenges that people face?”
The discussion also explored the connection between housing and migration, and strategies to attract and retain top talent in Australia.
Watch the full discussion above.
HARNESSING THE SKILLS OF MIGRANTS | CEDA SENIOR ECONOMIST ANDREW BARKER
"Recently arrived migrants earn less than the Australian-born population, particularly recently arrived female migrants, and that's got worse over the past 10 years between 2011 and 2021," CEDA Senior Economist, Andrew Barker, shared with the Migration Forum 2023.
"Actually, the situation is worse than this because migrants are relatively more educated than the Australian-born population, and this has a bigger effect than the lower English language ability and their younger age in terms of their wages," he said.
Read his full address, or watch the Migration Forum above.