National, state and territory chambers of commerce have united in our call for the federal government to tap into the supply of international graduates to help address Australia’s workforce shortages.

Our three-point plan proposes changing visa rules for more than 100,000 current international graduates already working in Australia.

The chambers welcomed the federal government’s move to extend post-study work rights for future international student graduates by an additional two years. This is an important first step in enhancing Australia’s international student market competitiveness and strengthening the pipeline of skilled labour.

The chambers have called for this eligibility to be widened, and are collectively advocating for:

  • Allowing current temporary graduate visa holders, not just future graduates, to stay and work longer.
  • Extending additional work rights to all graduates, not limited to select degrees, for at least the next financial year.
  • Extending temporary graduate work visas by an additional two years to boost the workforce where university degrees are not required.
    Making all graduates eligible, not limited to select degrees, reflects the reality that businesses are facing significant workforce shortages in all industries.

Extending eligibility for temporary graduate work stream visas would benefit industries such as tourism and hospitality, which are currently experiencing significant workforce shortages and where most qualifications are below degree level.

Quotes attributable to Andrew McKellar, chief executive ACCI:

“The workforce need is here now and keeping existing international graduates in Australia for longer would be an immediate boost to available labour for critical jobs in key sectors.

“These international graduates stayed in Australia through the pandemic, and we should recognise that commitment rather than excluding them.

“It’s a win-win. By encouraging international graduates to extend their stay, businesses will have more access to critical skills in an extremely tight labour market.

This statement is released by:

Andrew McKellar, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Graham Catt, CEO, Canberra Business Chamber

David Harding, Executive Director, Business New South Wales

Greg Ireland, CEO, Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory

Heidi Cooper, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland

Andrew Kay, CEO, Business South Australia

Michael Bailey, CEO, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Paul Guerra, CEO, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Christopher Rodwell, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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