South Australian Centre for Economic Studies – ‘Report 2: The potential benefits of reforming migration policies to address South Australia’s needs’ 8/6/17

Today, the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies released ‘Report 2: The potential benefits of reforming migration policies to address South Australia’s needs’. Report 2 investigates the suitabilityof the Australian migration system, and recent changes, in meeting the needs of South Australianbusinesses.

The Commonwealth Government recently made changes to the skilled migration programs, designed to address perceived over / inappropriate use of skilled visas. The Report found that these changes do not address the concerns raised by South Australian (SA) employers in the study. In many cases, the announced changes exacerbate the existing situation, where employers are not always able to access employees with the skills they require.

 

For example:

1. A single level for the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) makes related visas much less useful in the lower wage regions that cover most of South Australia.

2. Regional SA employers identified skills gaps for occupations that require Certificate III or equivalent. Such occupations are not typically eligible for skilled worker visas.

3. The majority of SA businesses (ie. those with an annual turnover of less than $10 million) will now pay an additional training levy of $1,200 for every 457 visa holder they sponsor, with larger businesses paying $1,800 per annum. For each permanent employer sponsored migration application, the business will pay an additional $5,000 levy. There is no guarantee that the levy funds will be invested in the region from which it was collected, potentially exacerbating the skills shortage.

4. The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visa could enable retiring SA business owners to sell to suitable migrants, however, the typical value of SA small and medium enterprises is generally lower than the BIIP investment value, making most of them ineligible for this program.

 

The Report also found that South Australia’s educational institutions currently recruit a larger share of students from countries which are treated as higher risk, under the new Simplified Student Visa Framework. These students must meet stringent evidentiary requirements to demonstrate that they are a genuine temporary entrant and can complete their course. Should this discourage students from applying, and / or result in student visa refusals, then our share of international Vocational Education and Training (VET) students (already disproportionately low) may fall further.

This Report, the second in a series of three, follows on from findings in Report 1 that identified the key economic, business development and growth challenges faced by South Australia, in light of the federal immigration policy environment. The final report is due to be released in the coming weeks and will provide migration policy recommendations to address South Australian needs.

Migration Solutions is proud to be associated with this Report, along with key South Australian businesses, and regional development and business associations in South Australia and nationally,

Including:

  • Thomas Foods International
  • RDA Murraylands and Riverland
  • Shahin Enterprises
  • Local Government Association of SA
  • Education Adelaide
  • The Population Institute of Australia
  • The Urban Development Institute of Australia
  • The Property Council SA
  • BDO Australia

You can read the full report here.

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