Migrant announcement an ‘early Christmas present’ for retail

The National Retail Association (NRA) has welcomed today’s announcement that 200,000 visa holders will be allowed into Australia.

From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders. Australia will also welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The NRA declares the announcement as an “early Christmas present as the retail industry confronts a horrendous labour shortage”.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says that businesses across the sector are currently struggling to have enough staff to operate at capacity.

“Many Australian retailers have battled their way through lockdowns the last 18 months. But these same businesses are now being hit with the double-whammy of now being unable to operate at maximum capacity as they simply don’t have the staff,” she says.

“Before the pandemic there were over 100,000 skilled migrants coming to Australia each year. That’s a significant number to have ripped out of the economy the last two years.

“The retail sector is very reliant on skilled migration. It also provides the second-biggest workforce in the entire economy, so a labour shortage has a knock-on effect for other industries.

“Australia now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, so we think this to be a common sense move by the government.

“Meanwhile, we urge the remaining few Australians yet to be vaccinated to please consider doing so. Announcements like this only happen when the country meets vaccination targets, and we need to continue reopening the economy.”

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