Submission to inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program

3 May 2021

Extract from the SPA submission:

“Australia’s skilled migration program (both permanent and temporary) has been a major part of Australia’s high migrant intake over the past two decades. SPA does not believe it desirable to return to the prepandemic ‘normal’ of high immigration and high population growth. We believe that, if asked, this would also be the view of the overwhelming majority of the Australian people.

“The incomes of Australian workers have been suppressed by high immigration for too long, and this should not be allowed to continue. There is an overwhelming case for not loosening labour market testing, increasing the number and scope of skills categories, or in any way making it easier for skilled migration and accompanying pathways to permanent residency.

“Post-Covid, there needs to be a major reduction in Australia’s level of net migration, to less than half of the pre-Covid level. This will require considerable tightening of the skilled migration pathway to prevent the frequent gaming of the system, as has occurred to date.

“As an alternative to labour market testing, SPA recommends that the government require all ‘skilled’ migrants to be paid at least at the 75th percentile of full-time earnings. Lifting the salary floor for skilled migrants would ensure Australia’s visa system is used sparingly by employers to hire highly skilled migrants with specialised skills, not as a tool to undercut local workers and eliminate the need for providing training.

“In conclusion, the sensible policy is to keep immigration low, provide workers with proper training, and let local wages rise. Doing so would lift workers’ incomes and purchasing power, in addition to boosting productivity by rewarding business investment in productivity gains.”

Click on the link below to view the full submission (18 pages).

PDF version of Submission