Australia’s skilled migrant worker intake is set to grow by 40,000 people each year as the federal government attempts to combat the ongoing national labour shortage.
The migration intake will be lifted to nearly 200,000 people a year from its current rate of 160,000 after two years of COVID-19 border closures led to a national staffing crisis.
Independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall said that the move is “part of the solution” but that women should be further supported to join the workforce.
“If we can improve parental leave child care, more women can participate in the workforce,” Steggall told Today.
Steggall said the need to accelerate the current processing of workers is essential in bolstering efforts and that Australia should be looking to use the existing local workforce.
“Hospitality, retail, aged care sector, nursing, you know, we have so many sectors crying out for more workforce,” she said.
“Skilled migrants is one part of the solution.
“At the moment it takes an excessive amount of time and costs a lot of money.”
According to recent Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, there are 480,100 job vacancies in Australia, a 111.1 per cent increase since February 2020.
The Albanese government flagged seniors as a solution, who could soon be allowed to work more hours and still receive their pension.
The plan would allow people over the age of 66 and six months to work extra hours and earn an income without losing their aged pension entitlement.
Currently, seniors are limited to earning $490 a fortnight. For every dollar earned over that, they lose 50 cents from their fortnightly pension.
The Albanese government is expected to reveal its migration cap in the October budget.