Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program

Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program

In March 2021, The Joint Standing Committee on Migration inquired into and made recommendations on Australia’s skilled migration program.

The inquiry found that COVID-19 has had a significant effect on Australia’s workforce. Although 94% of Australians who lost their jobs have returned to work, there are still significant skills shortages in Australia.

Over 500,000 temporary visa holders left Australia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant skills shortages. The Committee has heard that job vacancies in November 2020 reached their highest point in the last 10 years.

The Committee stated that Australia needs to replace the skilled migrants that left Australia as a result of the COVID-19. Without skilled migration, Australia’s economic recovery will be severely hampered.

We have put together the recommendations that will directly affect overseas skilled workers below:

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Department of Home Affairs be required to provide greater transparency on where employer sponsored visa applications are in the queue.

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that the Department of Home Affairs conduct an urgent review of the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, with a view to expanding the number of occupations to better reflect the urgent skills shortages in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. The Department should give particular consideration to civil engineers, electrical engineers, motor mechanics, cooks, carpenters, electricians and other roles in the hospitality, health, trades, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends the Government reserve places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that: 

  • The Department of Home Affairs improve visa processing times for employer-sponsored visas because of the labour market needs during the COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery; and
  • The Department of Home Affairs expedite the processing times for skilled visa holders who have remained onshore in relevant employment seeking a subsequent skilled visa or permanent residency visa.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that all employer sponsored visa holders be given a clearer pathway to permanency.

What does this mean for you?

Oversea Applicants

If the occupations mentioned above in Recommendation 6 are moved to the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List, this will mean people with these skills will likely receive a travel exemption to enter Australia while the borders are closed.

Visa holders in Australia

Recommendation 10 would give you a secure pathway to permanent residency in Australia. 

If you think you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency now, click here to take our online eligibility assessment