Australia will speed up visa application processing times to weeks instead of months for high-skilled workers as part of a migration overhaul.
Fast-tracking skilled visa applications will make it easier for businesses to hire foreign skilled workers in high-demand industries and ease workplace shortages in Australia.
The Australian government has indicated that the salary threshold for the new fast-track visa for high-skilled workers will be around $120,000, but potentially as high as $150,000.
However, Australian business groups want the new high-skill visa stream to have a lower salary threshold of around $98,000 to ensure maximum access to global talents.
The new program is also expected to include no skilled occupation list or labour market testing for highly skilled migrants.
The migration overhaul is set to be announced following a review to improve the country’s “broken” system of hiring foreign workers.
The revamp of Australia’s existing migration system will focus on bringing in high-wage workers with relatively few regulations for firms.
However, employers looking to bring in low-paid care sector workers earning salaries less than $70,000 will be subject to extensive regulation and union oversight.
According to the interim review, highly paid workers needed fewer regulations since they were at a lower risk of being exploited and were unlikely to displace Australian workers due to their in-demand skills.
The interim review also found that Australia was losing out on attracting global talents to countries such as Canada, where skilled visas are processed in a matter of weeks.
Australian employers are struggling with a nationwide shortage of skilled workers to fill job vacancies, which hit a record 479,000 last year.
The number of job openings in Australia is still about 90 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels, which has led to widespread calls from big businesses to boost skilled migration to Australia.