Australia is considering boosting the incomes of temporary skilled migrants as the country works on tackling worker shortages.
Brendan O’Connor, Australia’s Skills and Training Minister, said that the government would look at lifting the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, which has been fixed at A$53,000 since 2013.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also urged employers and unions to find compromises to address the country’s key economic challenges following the pandemic.
Speaking on raising the income threshold for temporary migrants, Mr O’Connor said there needs to be a lifting of the measure but did not comment on whether the cap would be raised to A$65,000.
He said the Australian government favours lifting the income threshold for some temporary skilled migrants and that these are complex issues that need working out with each sector.
Worker shortages in Australia’s high-skilled and lower-pay industries worsened significantly after many working holidaymakers and international students were forced to leave because of border closures due to the pandemic.
Skills shortages have also been exacerbated in recent times by a blowout in visa processing times which have left around a million applicants waiting for decisions on their applications.
At present, Australia’s jobless rate stands at around 3.4 per cent – an almost 50-year low.
Labour shortages have also contributed to surging inflation and reduced real wages.
Critical skills shortages and an ageing population have caused Australia to increase efforts to attract skilled migrants to restore balance to the country’s ailing workforce.
As a result, Australia is now competing with other developed countries such as Canada and Germany to attract high-skilled immigrants to the country.
The Australian government also announced it would lift the permanent migration intake by 35,000 from the previous cap of 160,000 places.
This means Australia is now set to welcome 195,000 new permanent residents in this financial year, which would help businesses and employers facing staff shortfalls and ease the reliance on short-term workers.