Nine recommendations for Australia's Skilled Migration Program

07 April 2021 3 min. read
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In its submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program, KPMG has put forward nine recommendations that can help Australia bring back skilled migrants that left the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, and attract new migrants to provide for much needed skills and fill capacity gaps. 

Recommendation 1
Conduct a review into the potential application of a risk-based approach to vaccinated travellers while concurrently working with our counterparts to increase the access to vaccines in low income countries.

Recommendation 2
Consider a range of measures to make Australia attractive to young, skilled migrants including:

  • making post-study work rights easier and last longer;
  • adding further permanent residency points to those post-study work rights;
  • adding even further permanent residency points where both the course and post-study work rights are in an area of skill shortage outlined in updated skills lists;
  • introducing an accelerated pathway to residency program for regional students based on updated skills lists. 

Recommendation 3
Consider the development of a package of Covid-19 temporary concessions to help address the immediate shortfall of workers in regional Australia including the temporary removal of Labour Market Testing for employer sponsored streams, older age limits and lower English language requirements for workers applying for temporary visas or permanent residency in regional areas. 

Recommendation 4
Consider improvements to the Global Talent Scheme and Hong Kong visa class to ensure international competitiveness in a highly competitive global market including a review of salary caps, age thresholds, turnover requirements and concessions on key criteria for Hong Kong nationals. 

Recommendation 5
Consider a further increase in program allocation numbers in recognition that highly skilled individuals don't often migrate as sole travellers and w often have accompanying family members who are included in the current program caps. 

Recommendation 6
Consider a revision of the Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) program as it relates to start-ups to ensure that there is a broader representation of industries that can access the scheme. 

Recommendation 7
Include KPIs for processing times and accrediting specialist third parties to review visa eligibility so that visa categories are adaptable and responsive to market changes in growth sectors. 

Recommendation 8
Introduce clearer policies and guidelines on identified target sectors to aide interest and uptake for highly skilled individuals and businesses. 

Recommendation 9
Provide greater permanent residence options for businesses and their employees contributing to Australia's economic recovery. 

About the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Skilled Migration Program

On 3 February 2021, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs (Alex Hawke) asked the Joint Standing Committee on Migration to inquire into and report on Australia's Skilled Migration Program. The Committee presented its interim report on 18 March 2021, concluding that the migration of skilled talent is impacting the country’s workforce. 

“With over 500,000 temporary visa holders leaving the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia needs to bring back skilled migrants to provide for much needed skills and fill capacity gaps. Many businesses are facing significant skills shortages, preventing them recovering from the pandemic and growing their businesses.”

“Skilled migrants provide offer businesses the opportunity to better meet demand and expand, and to pass on their skills to Australians,” the report continued. The Committee has recommended a number of measures to streamline the system.