Skilled worker programme key to immigration future in Australia

by Ray Clancy on October 22, 2013

in Australia, Australia Immigration

The future of Australia’s skilled worker programme was top of the agenda at this year’s Migration Conference held at Rydges Lakeside Hotel in Canberra.

In the opening address of the national conference, organized by the Migration Institute of Australia, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said that the country’s immigration heritage means that it will always be open to skilled and eager migrants, including the much debated 457 visa that is used by many employers to find skilled workers from abroad.

australia visa application

Australia’s immigration heritage means that it will always be open to skilled and eager migrants, including the much debated 457 visa.

Morrison pledged not to be constantly changing the rules and moving the goalposts for visa holders and employers as that only creates uncertainty. ‘That uncertainty discourages foreign investors, skilled workers and students from making the decision to work or study or invest in Australia. The integrity of our immigration policies and the capacity of our systems to ensure compliance are more important now than ever,’ he said.

‘Immigration has been Australia’s experience since the modern birthplace of the nation. We all have an immigrant story that we connect to and I think if we can all see ourselves and our heritage and our ancestry along those lines it will much better assist us to connect to each other as Australians, as immigrants with an immigrant heritage and an immigrant history,’ he explained.

There was an outlining of the new  government’s policies on skilled migration and visas, a political hot potato in the run up to the general election: ‘Australia’s experience and indeed our success as an immigration nation over time has been based fundamentally on our commitment to the economic participation of migrants at all levels. We have always valued the involvement of migrants in our economy and under the Coalition this will continue,’ said Morrison.

A focus point of the meeting and the opening address was that the continued economic participation of migrants should be the main objective. ‘We want to bring people to Australia who add value and make a contribution to society. A key reason for our success which continues to set us apart from other countries is that we receive migrants principally and strongly in our skilled migration programme. This programme will continue to be the key driver of our immigration future,’ explained Morrison.

‘The primary purpose of our immigration programme is economic, not social, in our view. Immigration is an economic policy, not a welfare policy. The permanent employer sponsored migration programme plays a pivotal role in ensuring that businesses right across the country, regardless of where their workplace is, can find skilled workers to fill genuine vacancies,’ he pointed out.

Morrison hinted that there will be changes to the 457 visa programme: ‘We are working through the issues. Temporary skilled migration when it is managed well under a process not only helps employers and businesses fill skill shortages, it creates Australian jobs. The 457 programme has to be managed carefully and sensitively with integrity,’ he concluded.

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