Engineers Australia Government Submission Australia Migration
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Engineers Australia Stark Warning To the Australian Government

Skilled Migration Desperately Needed To Fill The Gap

Unless Australia’s skilled migration program is overhauled, and more support provided to migrants and employers, our nation’s engineering capability is at risk.

That the warning from Engineers Australia in its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program.

Engineers Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said that while demand for engineers was high, the outcomes for migrant engineers proved the current system was no longer working.

“We desperately need skilled migration to fill the gap between the number of engineers required and what universities and the local market can supply. Yet once here, overseas-born engineers experience higher unemployment (7.6%) than their Australian-born peers (3.7%), and only 40.9% end up working in an engineering role,” Dr Evans said.

The submission also says that attempts to use the skilled migration program to boost employment and productivity in regional Australia are also failing.

“Certain visa classes require the holder to remain in a regional location for two to four years, yet most engineering roles are situated in metropolitan areas. With fewer suitable roles available, migrants can find themselves forced to take on employment out of their engineering occupation and may be lost to the profession forever,” Dr Evans said.

Engineers Australia has made a number of recommendations to the inquiry and is urging the government to explore the reasons for different employment outcomes amongst migrants and Australia-born people in occupations targeted by the skilled migration program.

“There is a serious mismatch between the objectives of the skilled migration program and what is being achieved in the community. Unless research is done and changes are made, we will continue to fail both migrants and employers, and put Australia’s engineering capability and future economic growth at risk,” Dr Evans said.

Engineers Australia recommendations

  • The government consider refining the migration program’s objectives to be more specific and to consider if the migration program is designed to attract the right people.
  • An inquiry is established to examine the barriers to full and meaningful employment of skilled migrants.
  • The government should commission research to explore the reasons for different employment outcomes amongst migrants and Australia-born people in occupations targeted by the skilled migration program.
  • Have the migration skills list revised to be more amenable to change.
  • Review the points-based system to ensure it does not create unintended consequences in the supply of migrants or their employment outcomes onshore.
  • Review the regional sponsorship program with consideration to freeing migrants of their obligation to remain in the regional area after a shorter period of time, such as six months.
  • Have the National Cabinet commission skills demand studies for every industrial sector that relies on skilled migration for a sustainable labour force.

Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts! 

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