On 3 February 2021, the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, referred an inquiry into Australia’s skilled migration program to the Committee.
The terms of reference included consideration of both short-term and long-term adjustments to Australia’s skilled migration program. In March 2021, the Committee tabled an Interim Report on the short-term considerations, specifically in relation to the following terms of reference:
Australia’s international competitiveness in attracting entrepreneurs, venture capital, start-ups, and the best and brightest migrants with cutting edge skills.
Subsequently, the Committee gathered further evidence on the wider terms of reference for the inquiry. This report examines the results of this evidence gathering and responds to the remaining terms of reference.
This report builds on some of the recommendations of the Interim Report and explores, in more depth, issues that have arisen in the course of gathering evidence for the inquiry.
The Committee is reporting in a timely manner given the significant issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant effects on the skilled migration program. The Committee’s consideration of the terms of reference has been shaped by the evidence received and the Committee has chosen to highlight what it considers are the most critical issues.
Chapter 2 discusses issues around workforce planning, skills shortages, the skills lists, the use of ANZSCO, skilled occupation lists and the impact of a pathway to permanent residency for skilled migrants and their employers.
Chapter 3 discusses the administration of the skilled migration program with a particular focus on visa conditions and processing. The chapter also discusses migration pathways for international student graduates and intra-company transfers.
Chapter 4 provides additional analysis of issues related to Labour Market Testing and the Skilling Australia Fund which were discussed in the Interim Report.