Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Migration overhaul to make Australia a destination of choice

The Australian Retailers Association has welcomed the Federal Government’s move to streamline and simplify Australia’s migration system to offer long-term pathways to residency for skilled workers.
It comes in response to the independent Review of the Migration System led by Dr Martin Parkinson, which found that Australia’s migration system is broken.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says a simplification of Australia’s migration system would reposition the country as a destination of choice for skilled workers.

“It’s been extremely difficult for retailers to compete in the global war for talent while Australia’s migration system has been hamstrung by so many restrictions, excessive costs and protracted waiting times,” he said.

“Attracting skilled and suitable workers will be essential for both survival and success as the industry navigates persistent economic headwinds.

“The ARA has called for the establishment of pathways to permanent residency for temporary skilled visa holders in its last two pre-budget submissions – so it is very pleasing to see the Government taking this feedback on board,” Mr Zahra said.

“Having a clear permanent pathway to residency will make Australia a go-to destination for talented workers across the globe”.

The ARA also welcomes reports the government will scrap the Skilled Migration List, in favour of a higher income threshold to determine a “skilled” role.

“As retail gears up for growth in important areas such as e-commerce – attracting talent will be vital to stay ahead of global competitors,” Mr Zahra added.

“Coupled with acute labour shortages, we have a higher than ever need to supplement our workforce.”

Mr Zahra said the recent major policy shift allowing New Zealanders to access Australian citizenship and its associated benefits will also incentivise global talent to choose Australia over other countries competing for labour.

The ARA also welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement that it will invest $4.1 billion into skills and training.

“We’re pleased to see continued financial support toward the Vocational Education and Training sector, as a viable upskilling pathway alternative to higher education – specifically for entry level and frontline management types of positions,” Mr Zahra said.

“The ARA looks forward to consulting with the government as the split of funds is negotiated and accepted between each state and territory government.”

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