Objective 3.2

Ready access to international talent

The Government and industry agree that Australia’s immigration program needs a strong emphasis on filling skill gaps to help grow the economy.

Industry underlined the importance of a skilled migration policy that complements, integrates with, and supplements Australia’s domestic approach to skilling and training its citizens. This is essential for the development of internationally competitive skills in Australia’s services sub-sectors.

For example, the Australian Computer Society’s Australia’s Digital Pulse Report estimated that there will be 35,000 fewer tech workers in December 2020 than the end of 2019, partly due to COVID-19 disruptions to migration.

Industry emphasised the need for a supportive skilled migration policy and immigration program that is based on a well-nuanced approach. It should make appropriate linkages between temporary and permanent migration to make Australia an attractive destination for globally mobile talent in the sectors where they are needed.

Industry noted many services exports involve the movement of people across national borders to undertake work, in person. Barriers to the temporary movement of people into key export markets remain key constraints for Australian services exporters. The ability of services providers to move temporarily in and out of Australia as smoothly as possible is therefore essential.

Active international promotion of the immigration avenues available to skilled workers plays a critical role in attracting talent to fill skills shortages in Australia.

The Government is continually engaging the community, business and education sectors on the migration system and better aligning visa rules with the services sector's requirements.

In line with our response to the Thodey Review of the Australian Public Service, we are committed to providing modern, easy to access, digital services for visa clients.

While current visa systems continue to function, processing and decision making in many cases is still undertaken manually. The Department of Home Affairs is working to update systems and processes. This includes simplifying the visa process for services firms to more easily access international talent.

The Government continues to promote visa programs to attract global talent of the highest calibre to Australia as skilled migration continues to make substantial contributions to Australia’s economic prosperity, national wellbeing and social cohesion. We will continue to work with Australian universities, industry bodies, and State and Territory governments to attract global talent to Australia.

We are also closely monitoring migration and visa settings to ensure they are consistent with public health measures, are flexible and do not displace job opportunities for Australians so that Australia can deal with the immediate and post recovery impacts of COVID-19.

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