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Raising the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold

Last week’s Job and Skills Summit not only heralded change in the handling of visa applications and the number of visas it also addressed the matter of the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) which is the minimum salary threshold for sponsoring a temporary skilled migrant.


The TSMIT is the wage amount at which employers can sponsor workers via the temporary skills shortage visa.


The TSMIT has been frozen at $53,900 since 2013, which is below the $65,000 it would be it had been indexed to wage growth. That makes it lower than the wages earned by 80 percent of Australia’s full-time workers.


Consensus was reached at the summit that the threshold should increase but unions and business could not agree on how much.


Andrew McKellar Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry head said it should be a small lift to around $60,000 while unions said it should be $90,000, the Grattan Institute was in the middle suggesting $70,000.


The argument against a threshold of $90,000 is that it could cut out younger skilled workers who are the mainstay of permanent skilled migration.


Australia’s skilled migration system relies on a list of occupations, but that list is only updated once every 10 years which is not ideal as the labour market changes far more rapidly than that.


Australia's jobless rate now stands at a near 50-year-low of 3.4 percent and the country is competing with other developed economies, like Germany and Canada, to attract more high-skilled immigrants, as the country's ageing population heightens demand.

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