“The announcement today by the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke that short-term skilled visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency and citizenship is a smart move that will help address our growing skills shortages,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
“Thousands of temporary visa holders who previously did not have the right to apply for residency now have strong incentives to stay in Australia and continue to contribute to important sectors where there are clear skills gaps.
“These temporary skilled visa holders are already in work and contributing to the community and they will make a welcome long-term addition to our society and economy.
“We would encourage the government to extend the concession to returning short-term skilled visa holders who have been locked out of Australia during the pandemic.
“Employers are also very supportive of the Government’s announcement today of further measures to support the return of international students and graduates.
“These international students contribute in many ways to our economy well beyond the fees they pay and the hospitality work many engage in as undergraduates.
“A high proportion of international students are studying in skill shortage areas such as engineering and ICT. When they graduate they can work for two years filling desperately needed engineering and other roles experiencing major skills gaps.
“All states need to come to the party and open their borders more widely to accept returning skilled migrants and students without delay and remove quarantine requirements for double vaccinated and tested arrivals,” Mr Willox said.