Australian businesses have called on the federal government to increase the permanent migration cap.
In its submission to the government’s review of the immigration system recently, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) called for a post-pandemic migration “reset”, reports Xinhua news agency.
It urged the government to increase the annual migrant intake for the next two financial years to 220,000, with 70 percent of places reserved for skilled workers.
In 2022, the new government announced it would increase the cap from 160,000 to 195,000 places in a bid to address workforce shortages, particularly in the technology and healthcare sectors.
Arguing for an even bigger increase, the BCA said more migrants would be a significant economic and social boon to fill skills’ gaps and offset Australia’s aging population.
“Australia should aim for a reset on migration that not only attracts migrants back to our shores and tackles workforce shortages, but also helps set the country up as a high productivity, high-skill, and high-wage frontier economy,” according to the submission.
“To give certainty for long-term planning, the government should consider setting Australia’s permanent migration intake at a percentage of the total population over the long term.”
Additionally, the peak body said employers should be allowed to bring in any skilled worker from overseas for jobs with a salary above the national average.
The wide-ranging immigration review, which was established by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil in November 2022, is expected to hand down its reports and recommendations for change ahead of May’s federal budget.