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  • Writer's pictureDessie

Reforms to current temporary skilled migration system

During a speech by the Hon Clare O’Neil Minister for Home Affairs to the National Press Club on Australia’s migration system she spoke on the reforms needed to fix our migration system and what her government is doing to address this.

“We have begun consultation on a proposal to restructure our temporary skilled migration program, to ensure this program provides Australia with the skills we need to take our nation forward,” she explained.

“The draft outline of the Australian Migration Strategy that I’m releasing today proposes that we consider three new pathways for temporary skilled migrants to come to our country, tightly tailored to the needs of our country.

“The first pathway is a fast, simple route for specialised, highly skilled workers we need to drive innovation in our economy, and to help us build the jobs of the future.

“The second is a mainstream temporary skilled pathway to bring in the core skills we need. For this stream, we would focus on proper, evidence-based assessments of skills needs, rather than the current outdated approaches that everyone agrees are notworking.

“This pathway would include skilled migrants earning above an increased temporary skilled migration income threshold, to ensure our migration system remains a program for skilled migrants.

“The third stream relates to our essential industries.”

One of the ways Ms O’Neil described was the change the way the points test is designed which she stated was not working properly as the bar was set too low. Another way was to simplify the system and so her government is setting up a new body Jobs and Skills Australia which will have a formal role in the migration system for the first time.

This body will obtain its direction from input by businesses and unions using facts and data to find skills shortages.

“We need to avoid policies and conditions that create ‘permanent temporariness’. This means clearer pathways for the skilled workers we need and clarity for the migrants that have less of a prospect of becoming a permanent resident,” she said.

As of 1 July, the temporary skilled migration income threshold (TSMIT) will increase to $70,000 as a first step to making necessary changes.

“I can announce that as by the end of 2023, all temporary skilled workers will have a pathway to permanent residency,” she said. “This does not mean an expansion of our capped permanent program. It does not mean more people. It simply means that a group of temporary workers who had been denied even the opportunity to apply for permanent residency will be able to do so.

“We want to increase competition for permanent resident places and ensure we don’t leave more workers in limbo, bouncing from visa to visa.

“These two changes show we’re serious about the reform agenda ahead. And I hope as I finish up today, you have a clear sense of what a new migration system for our country would look like.”

This new threshold will apply to those already on a relevant visa only after it expires, and they have to apply for a new visa and that will have an income threshold of $70,000.

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