Supporters of those who want to see fewer overseas workers granted visas in Australia often argue that they are taking jobs away from Australians but new research suggests this is not a major issue.
Australians are more concerned about declining demand for their skills than any effect of immigration on job vacancies, a new survey has found.
The research from jobs site Indeed also found that those aged 16 to 54 are most concerned about their skill base while those aged 45 to 54 are more worried about the impact of immigration.
However, it is likely that some change to the 457 visa programme is likely as it continues to be a major point of discussion in 2017.
The Productivity Commission, for example, has recommended a number of changes to the skilled migration programme, including that the skilled occupation list should be used as the sole basis for determining skill requirement from overseas.
It also recommends undertaking a small pilot scheme that tests the merit of supplementing the skilled occupations list with a more granular treatment of some occupations that cannot be easily allocated between the different skill levels and the inclusion of particular, well defined skill sets that are not occupationally specific.
In its report the commission also looked at permanent migration and recommended that the current age limit of 50 years for permanent migration under the skill stream should be reduced and there should be greater weight in the points based system for younger immigrants.
But having said that, the commission wants the Australian Government to maintain the existing capacity to provide exemptions to the age rule for particularly skilled applicants.
It suggests that there should be a common points system for the entire permanent skill visa stream, but in doing so should add points to a visa application by a primary applicant who has been nominated by an employer. Currently, the selection criteria is different for skilled migrant intake and employer sponsored applicants.
According to the commission, almost half of visas issued under the skilled migration stream are for secondary applicants. It says there’s significant scope to use those applicants to raise the overall calibre of the intake.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has acknowledged that it is looking at changes, but said this is part of an ongoing appraisal that takes place every year. However, it is looking at the potential for change to temporary and provisional visas.