Migration changes address skills and labour shortages

Thousands of businesses will be able to step up productivity and output as a result of changes made to Australia’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupations List (PMSOL) by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke today.

“A huge step has been made today to rectify Australia’s current skills crisis,” acting CEO Jenny Lambert said.

“COVID-19 restrictions have greatly exacerbated existing skills and labour shortages. Many industries bouncing back in our multi-speed economy are facing a severe lack of skills and labour as a result of international borders remaining shut and restrictions on movement within Australia. For sectors still struggling, the shortages will only make life harder when conditions begin to improve for them.

“Today’s changes demonstrate the Government’s responsiveness to industry’s compelling evidence to the Minister, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Australia’s Skilled Migration Program and the National Skills Commission.

“Additions to the PMSOL are absolutely necessary while our international border remains closed and businesses recover from what has been a once in a generation pandemic event.

“The shortages in engineering, for example, have been heightened as a result of large infrastructure projects in the works across the country.

“We need to see these additions as a complement to the considerable investment government and industry are making in the development of skills for Australians, including the highly successful apprenticeship commencement incentive and the JobTrainer partnership with State and Territory Governments to fully fund qualifications for jobseekers in areas of skill shortage.

“The result of this additional investment will take time to flow into the labour market. In the meantime, shortages exist especially in regional Australia despite the lure of good pay and working conditions. The problems being experienced by the mining industry in attracting chefs to supervise on-site dining for workers despite very attractive packages demonstrates that, particularly since COVID, Australians are not moving to take up these jobs.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Government on the road to recovery from the pandemic,” Ms Lambert said.

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