Australia increases Migration Program intakes by 35,000 places!

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migration intake increaseOn Friday, 2 September, the Australian Government announced that it’s immediately increasing the 2022-23 Migration Program intakes by 35,000 places to 195,000.

That decision was only one of several resolutions made at the Jobs and Skills Summit on 1 and 2 September.

The Summit was held to agree on actions to help build a stronger economy and a stronger Australia, and it brought together businesses, unions, and industry to address shared economic challenges.

Below we’ll summarise all the actions and strategies the Australian Government undertook with regards to immigration.

Immediate actions from the Jobs and Skills Summit

The Australian Government committed to actions to build a bigger, better trained, and more productive workforce during its Jobs and Skills Summit. The Summit also laid out priorities for further work and future action.

For immigration, the Government committed to take the following immediate actions to address skills shortages and strengthen the migration system:

  • Increasing the permanent Migration Planning level to 195,000 in 2022-21 to help ease widespread, critical skills shortages
  • Providing AUS$36.1 million in additional funding to accelerate visa processing and resolve the visa backlog
  • Increasing the duration of post-study work rights by allowing two additional years of stay for recent graduates with select degrees in areas of verified skills shortages to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour in Australia
  • Extending the relaxation of work restrictions for student and training visa holders until 30 June 2023 to help ease skills and labour shortages
  • Widening the remit of the National Housing Infrastructure Facility, making up AUD$575 million available to invest in social and affordable housing. The funding can be used to partner with other tiers of government and social housing providers and to attract private capital.

The Government’s areas for further work

In addition to the immediate actions agreed upon during the Skills and Job Summit, the Australian Government also committed to reviewing Australia’s migration system’s purpose, structure, and objectives to ensure it meets the challenges of the coming decade.

The Government will also progress work to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the skilled migration occupation lists
  • Expand pathways to permanent residency for temporary skilled sponsored workers
  • Raise the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold following engagement on equitably setting the threshold and pathway for adjustment
  • Reform the current labour market testing process following consultation with unions and business
  • Bring forward a package of reforms to address the migration worker exploitation during 2023
  • Examine the potential for industry sponsorship of skilled migration
  • Embed a role for Jobs and Skills Australia’s analysis of skill shortages in setting priorities for the skilled migration program
  • Consider policies to address the regional labour shortages and how to improve small business access to skilled migration.

Furthermore, all levels of government will work together to ensure infrastructure, housing and social services are well planned to meet the needs of a growing population.

The Government has also committed to implementing the recommendations of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce to tackle migrant worker exploitation.

In summary

The Australian Government has committed to actions and future strategies to build a stronger labour market and economy to benefit all Australians.

That includes addressing skills shortages and strengthening the migration system.

The first step was increasing the Migration Program planning levels by 35,000 to 195,00 places in total for the 2022-23 Migration Program Year.

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