New year, new Australian migration strategy.
The Government recently released its Migration Strategy for Australia, including a detailed policy roadmap and commitments for future migration system reforms.
In a nutshell, the Australian Government is committed to streamlining visa processes and introducing much stronger protections in relation to wages and working conditions.
The publication of this 99-page document follows other changes announced in the second half of 2023, including the increase of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold and expanded permanent residency pathways for 482 visa holders.
Here’s what’s in the pipeline:
1. Focusing on targeted temporary skilled migration to address specific skill shortages and facilitate workforce flexibility
A new Skills in Demand visa will be introduced with three targeted pathways. Labour market testing and visa processing will also be more streamlined in future and migrant workers will enjoy more mobility in the labour market.
2. Restructuring permanent skilled migration strategies to drive sustained economic prosperity
The Government says it is committed to reforming the points test for skilled migration. A new Talent and Innovation visa is also in the pipeline.
3. Enhancing the credibility and standards of international education to ensure quality outcomes
New measures will be introduced aimed at lifting standards for international students and education providers. The aim is to ensure graduates do not get trapped in a temporary visa loop.
4. Addressing worker exploitation and preventing visa system misuse to safeguard labour rights
New legislation, powers, policies and strict penalties will be introduced to safeguard the integrity of the visa system. This includes the introduction of a public register of employer sponsors.
5. Strategically planning migration to match skill sets with geographic demands
The Government is committed to taking a longer-term, evidence-based approach to migration planning, through working more closely with states and territories.
6. Tailoring regional visas and the Working Holiday Maker program to bolster support for both regional Australia and its workforce
Regional visas will receive higher priority processing. The Working Holiday Maker program will also be evaluated to ensure it continues to support development in regional areas.
7. Strengthening connections within the Indo-Pacific region
The Government is committed to improving people-to-people links in the Indo-Pacific region. This commitment was demonstrated by the recent introduction of a direct citizenship pathway for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.
8. Simplifying the migration system to offer a smoother experience for both migrants and employers
The aim is to streamline visa settings and reduce the range of visa subclasses, removing duplicative visas.
Five Key Objectives
The Government has outlined five key objectives which will underpin the country’s migration system.
1. Improving living standards for Australians by increasing productivity through addressing skills shortages
2. Ensuring everyone receives ‘a fair go’ at work by ensuring acceptable conditions for both Australian and migrant workers
3. Building stronger communities by giving more migrants the opportunity to settle here permanently
4. Building stronger economic and social connections internationally
5. Building a more efficient visa system
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