The Australian government has committed to increasing the nation’s annual migration cap amid the current skills and labour shortage crisis.
Clare O’Neil, the Mnister for Home Affairs, on Friday said that the permanent skilled migration rate for this financial year had been set at 160,000 places, and the new Labor government would increase that number to 195,000, reports Xinhua news agency.
Speaking on day two of the government’s Jobs and Skills summit, O’Neil said “almost everyone” agreed an increase in migration was needed to address labour shortages.
“I want to emphasise that one of Labour’s priorities is to move away from the focus on short-term migrants, toward permanency, citizenship and nation building,” she said.
Regional areas will welcome 34,000 new migrants for this year — an increase of 9,000 from the previous cap.
Extra places will also be allocated for healthcare workers, tech sector workers and workers with skills needed to deliver critical infrastructure.
The government on Friday also announced about A$36 million ($24 million) in funding to help clear the backlog of visa applications.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australian employers had become too reliant on temporary migrants.
“There’s also consensus that it’s not just about the numbers, but it’s about the make-up of our migration system, that we need to move towards more permanent migration rather than a reliance on temporary labour,” he said.