Acute skills shortage arising from blocked migration pipeline

Skills and labour shortages across Australia are severely impacting business recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration this week, ACCI has urged the Federal Government to make skilled migration more immediately accessible so business can access critical skills through Australia’s skilled migration program.

“Skills shortages have been exacerbated by the prolonged closure of Australia’s border, and this is evident both in sectors that have bounced back strongly as well as those that are still recovering”, acting CEO Jenny Lambert said.

“It is a matter of survival for businesses in the accommodation, hospitality, cafes and restaurants sectors to access skilled migration. But there is also a critical need for more professionals such as structural and civil engineers, surveyors and veterinarians in order for businesses to grow.

“Regional communities are intensively feeling the loss of migrants, not just for skilled workers, but for people to fill seasonal jobs in agriculture and hospitality where working holiday makers traditionally filled the gaps. Farmers are letting fresh produce rot, and local businesses are either not opening some days, or closing off rooms as they simply do not have the staff to service customers.

“The immediate imperative is for governments to work collectively on how we manage arrivals, whether they be returning Australians or migrants, in a way that is proportionate to the risk and which best captures the economic opportunity. Not all arrivals are coming in from high risk countries, and important cohorts can be managed in way that controls the risk, particularly with more of the arrivals having been vaccinated and tested overseas before travelling.”

“For the longer term, our skilled migration program has become more complex and expensive and needs to be overhauled. A responsive, affordable and business-friendly migration system that has integrity checks in place is critically important to a strong, prosperous country in the future.”

Read ACCI’s submission here.

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