Migration system

Australia’s Guest worker society is calling for major changes to Australia’s current migration system

Grattan Institute has posted a new report stating that improving the “outdated” process for skilled immigrant visas could aid Australia in resolving many of the big challenges it is or will face.


  • A new report has called for major changes to Australia’s migration system.

  • The Grattan Institute wants all migrants earning $85,000 to be eligible to stay here permanently.

  • It says the migration system is “outdated”.

It was stated in a new report that Australia’s migration system needs to go through some major changes in order to stop it from becoming a “guest worker society” and not properly utilizing all the benefits of skilled foreign labor. It was previously stated by Grattan Institute as a warning that the onerous visa requirements are making Australia less attractive to young “globally-mobile talent”. At the same time, an over-reliance on low-skilled workers is undercutting wages, resulting in exploitation.

The federal government is being urged by the report, to be submitted to a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s migration system, to place more emphasis on bringing in the “best and brightest” skilled immigrants in the world to increase the economic growth rate, and smooth Australia’s path to a net-zero emission economy. These changes to the migration system include removing the old programs of favoring older migrants along with streamlining a system that it says prevents high-earning migrants from staying in the long term.

It was also stated by the director of the Grattans economic police program, Brendan Coates, that the “complex … outdated” rules of Australia’s migration system were lacking behind compared to the rapidly-changing global economy, and were thus causing processing delays.

Simplifying Australia’s migration system

The key changes that Grattan Institute is trying to implement through its recommendations are mainly for employer-sponsored visas. The Institute’s aim is to allow any employer to permanently sponsor immigrants earning over $85,000 per year and at the same time make immigrants earning more than $70,000 eligible for temporary sponsorship.

According to Mr. Coates, “Shifting to a world where we select skilled migrants on the basis of the wages they earn is going to result in a much simpler system, that better actually reflects whether people’s skills are valuable or not,”.

He also said that the new migration system which Grattan is trying to introduce would increase the Australian budget by more than $125 billion over three decades, and at the same time, it would provide assurance to both parties as employers would now be able to keep talented workers they wanted by giving them an annual salary of $85,000 while the workers would also have a clear pathway towards permanent residency.

There was also a report which showed that workers that earned over $70,000 on arrival tend to get a large increase in salary over time however those who are unable to reach this threshold tend to stagnate in low-killed, low-income sectors where there is a high rate of exploitation.

The report also calls for more importance to be placed on the skills of secondary applicants – spouses and family members – who make up approximately half of the candidates that receive permanent skilled visas each year.

The report also states to remove the Business Innovation and Investment Program, under the claim that the recipients are typically older and earn less than employer-sponsored migrants.

Deterioration of public trust

The Grattan Insitute also offered a warning that Exploitation within industries would increase if low-skilled temporary migration were expanded in hopes to deal with a labor shortage as it would undercut wages for low-earning Australians and hence reduce the public opinion in Australia’s immigration program.

Moreover, labor has made a pledge that by the mid of 2023 there will be a registered nurse in all aged care centers working each hour a week with a large number of these nurses being comprised of immigrants.

Furthermore, the report also accepted that the care economy may require an increase in its intake of less-skilled migrants as soon as possible to fulfill the labor requirement, however, the government is still being urged by the report to boost wages in the sector believing it to be the only long-term solution for dealing with the sectors labor shortages.

Australia's Guest worker society is calling for major changes to Australia's current migration system

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