Australia's Prosperity Boosted by Reformed Points Test

Department of Home Affairs

The Albanese Government continues to fix Australia's migration system, after a decade of neglect and mismanagement by the former Government.

Last year, the Government released a Migration Strategy for Australia. The goal of that strategy is build a smaller, better quality and better planned migration program for Australia.

Significant change has been made to reduce the size of the migration program, and recent data shows significant declines in our migration rate.

Now the Government is releasing a discussion paper which maps a path to reforming the Points Test, which has not been updated since 2012.

This is a key focus of the Government's reforms to skilled migration. Given this is a part of the capped permanent skilled migration program, it does not have an impact on net overseas migration.

Fixing this system will help reorient our migration system to solve Australia's big national challenges, fill skills needs and build our future workforce. The current Points Test is not delivering for Australia.

The Migration Review, undertaken by Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Professor Joanna Howe and Mr John Azarias, found that that the Test is "not designed to identify applicants with the best potential to contribute to Australia over the long term."

It said a recalibrated Points Test should "form the core of a future permanent skilled migration program".

The Points Test plays an important role in Australia's migration system. Almost two-thirds of permanent skilled migrants are selected through the Test. It determines who comes to Australia permanently and who will become Australia's future citizens.

The Migration Review found that a reformed Points Test should:

  • Focus on characteristics that are associated with migrants successfully finding skilled work 
  • Better target the skills Australia needs now and in the future
  • Give applicants a realistic sense of the likely success of their application and not drive 'permanent temporariness'
  • Reflect that younger migrants will spend more years contributing to Australian workplaces
  • Better recognise the potential contributions to Australia from partners.

The Government has begun work on reforming the Points Test by commissioning the Australian National University to analyse the factors that drive success in Australia.

This discussion paper explores how a better Points Test can meet the objectives of our Migration System, improve living standards and create a system that is efficient and fair towards the migrants who decide to build their lives here.

Submissions to this phase of consultation will close on the 24th May 2024.​

Quotes attributable to Minister for Home Affairs Clare O'Neil

"The migration system we inherited was completely broken, and our goal is to build a smaller, better planned, more strategic migration system that works for Australia.

"We are significantly reducing migration levels - we are in the middle of the biggest drop in migration numbers in Australia's history, outside of war or pandemic.

"At the same time, we're focused on making sure that a smaller migration program is bringing in people who have the skills we need to build Australia's future. That's where the Points Test really matters."

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