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Our slow and complex migration system puts businesses at a serious disadvantage

Migration remains central to the Australian success story. It enriches the social fabric of our nation, brings new ideas and international connections and strengthens our economy, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“However, if we want to continue to be competitive in attracting global talent, our migration system needs to be reformed.

“Australia is competing against other countries for the best and brightest; and slow or complex migration systems, which do not provide appropriate levels of certainty for someone looking to uproot their lives to move internationally, puts us at a serious disadvantage.

“Our latest report released today, Migration makes Australia stronger, looks at the big shifts we need to make now to create a simpler and more streamlined migration system that benefits Australia.

“Research commissioned by the BCA revealed two thirds of Australians believe that properly planned and well managed migration is beneficial to the nation. It is clear that Australians believe there is an unquestionable benefit of a strong and healthy migration program.

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“These benefits add value across the economy, including upskilling our existing workforce, assisting in key technologies as we transition to net-zero and added expertise in the digital economy, which will have broader benefits for the Australian community.

“However, there is a current misconception that our migration figures are higher than normal.

“It is important to recognise migration numbers currently recorded simply reflect a rebalancing after the pandemic border closures in 2020 and 2021.

“Our population is actually expected to be smaller than previously forecast irrespective of the current catch-up period of migration.

“The BCA welcomes the Albanese government’s drive to reform the migration system and we strongly support the three-tier temporary labour migration proposal put forward by the Migration Review, which would greatly simplify the current system.

“This approach will see a simplified pathway forward for highly-skilled, highly-paid workers, improvements to the core temporary labour process for other skilled workers, and a new well-regulated approach for lower paid workers where there are major shortages.

“Coupled with this reform, we welcome the government’s commitment to give all temporary skilled workers a pathway to permanency – which our BCA members have told us makes a big difference in people choosing whether to come to Australia as opposed to going to another country.

“Our paper outlines additional improvements which would see our migration system shift to world class, including:

  1. Delivering on better skills recognition.
  2. Four-year timeframes for temporary visas.
  3. Improvements to student visas.
  4. Changes to the cost prohibitive and ineffectual Skilling Australians Fund Levy.

“We believe we have an opportunity right now to renovate and refresh a system that is a central plank in boosting Australia’s productivity.

“We commend the government for taking on this task and look forward to seeing the good work of the Migration Review put into practice.”

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