To alleviate a recent workforce shortage and respond to the growing needs of employers, Australia has announced that it will raise its permanent migration cap to 195,000.
Earlier on Friday, the home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, announced the migration cap would be lifted to 195,000 places, promising it would bring “thousands more” engineers and nurses in to ease critical workforce shortages. The Albanese government also announced measures to cut visa wait times and fight migrant worker exploitation.
The immigration minister, Andrew Giles, said the government will spend $36.1m to hire 500 more staff in the home affairs department to clear a visa application backlog that now stretches to 900,000.
He told the summit the government’s measures to increase visa processing had already cut those waiting from almost 1 million to 900,000, while the average wait for a skilled visa had fallen from 53 days to 42 in July. “The backlog will be cleared,” he said, announcing the further workforce surge in processing.
“Waiting times will continue to come down. We will address this crisis, while looking to position Australia to realise our potential as a reconciled nation that harnesses the great strength of our diversity.”
This is a step in the right direction, and it will help to address some of the challenges faced by employers who cannot find enough workers. However, we need more than just temporary fixes; we also need a long-term solution for Australia’s growing population. State premiers and businesses welcome the new permanent migration cap.