Australia’s vision for permanent skilled migration transcends immediate labour shortages to enhance the nation’s long-term prosperity. A recent Migration Review revealed that the skilled migration program yields a declining economic impact in recent years. Consequently, the government is planning to sharpen efforts to boost prosperity and maintain competitiveness. The reforms would be made to the four (4) primary streams (and various sub-streams):
1. Reforms to Points-tested Skilled Migration
This stream includes Skilled Independent, Skilled Nominated, and most Regional visas, selected through a points test. There is a pressing need to simplify and recalibrate the basis for selecting independent skilled migrants. The current points test, complex and suboptimal, does not effectively attract migrants who can contribute significantly to Australia’s long-term prosperity. A new analysis-based points test is under consideration to identify independent migrants who can make the most substantial contributions to the country with the focus of skills of secondary applicants, English.
2. Reforms to Employer-nominated Migration
This stream requires applicants to be nominated by a sponsoring employer. Recent reforms expanded eligibility for the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme visa with the employment duration with a sponsoring employer for Temporary Residence Transition having been reduced from three (3) years to two (2) years.
3. Reforms to the Global Talent Program
Although aimed at attracting highly skilled migrants in priority sectors, this program faces criticism due to a lack of transparency in the visa application process and extended processing timeframes. Some argue that Global Talent visa applications serve as a substitute for a more attractive visa product for highly skilled temporary workers.
4. Reforms to the Business Innovation and Investment Scheme
This program, abbreviated as BIIP, has been delivering less-than-optimal economic outcomes for Australia. The review points to an opportunity to draw on the strength of the Significant Investor stream to design a visa product that selectively targets migrants capable of driving innovative investments in sectors of national importance or contributing significantly to the venture capital industry.
The development of a new Talent and Innovation visa is underway, focusing on attracting small numbers of highly talented migrants to Australia. These may include high-performing entrepreneurs, major investors, and global researchers. This visa aims to create a streamlined pathway for such individuals, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in sectors crucial to Australia’s future.
Australia is committed to refining its permanent skilled migration system, ensuring that it aligns with the goal of fostering long-term economic prosperity. These reforms underscore the nation’s dedication to remaining competitive in the global race for talent.
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