Abolishing prescriptive occupation lists would open up skilled migration and deliver more in-demand workers the Productivity Commission has found as the Australian economy continues to battle with chronic labour shortages.

“Businesses are unable to get the workers they need because of the shortcomings of existing priority lists for in-demand occupations,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“The Productivity Commission has rightly identified the fact that skilled occupation lists can result in undue restrictions on fulfilling the needs of employers. Instead, businesses in any industry should be afforded the flexibility to sponsor across a broad range of occupations.

Mr McKellar also cautioned that an increase to the temporary skilled migration income threshold must be carefully considered.

“An excessive increase to the salary threshold would prevent many businesses from accessing migrant workers to fill critical vacancies, for example in the aged care sector.

“Ideally, there should be more flexibility in setting thresholds that are tailored by sector, skill level, and job location.

“As the global race to attract skilled migrants heats up, we cannot risk getting left behind. With efficient and cost-effective visa settings we can attract and retain talent which will be crucial to strengthening our economic recovery.

“With Australia’s unemployment rate at historic lows, and businesses simply unable to fill vacancies, it’s crucial that migration levers be adjusted, along with initiatives to enhance the skills of Australians and increase participation in the labour market.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020
E: media@acci.com.au

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