International students at Sydney Airport
The return of international students helped boost migration numbers to 500,000 in 2022-23. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Visas to address skill shortage on cards for roundtable

Andrew Brown December 19, 2023

State and territory ministers will be brought together in a bid to address critical skills shortages as part of an overhaul of Australia’s migration system.

Federal Immigration Minister Andrew Giles will hold talks on Tuesday with state and territory counterparts for the first ministerial migration roundtable.

Visa nominations for each of the jurisdictions to help tackle skills shortages will be on the agenda, along with talks on the migration program.

The federal government unveiled a strategy in December that would aim to return annual migration numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

Mr Giles said it was important for all jurisdictions to be on the same page on the migration changes.

“The Albanese government is bringing together all levels of government to better plan for the future of our migration system for years to come,” he said.

“It’s integral that as we look to implement reform through the migration strategy, states and territories have a seat at the table.”

While states and territories don’t have a direct minister overseeing immigration, skills and industries ministers will attend the talks.

Net migration peaked at 500,000 for the 2022/23 financial year, largely driven by the return of international students and tourists after COVID-19.

Under the new migration strategy, the government will aim to reduce the number to 250,000 people by 2025.

New visas would be introduced aimed at addressing shortages in critical industries.

“We must ensure that our long-term planning for migration aligns with population, infrastructure, housing and services planning, across all levels of government,” Mr Giles said.

International students would also be subject to increased minimum English language requirements, which the federal government said were to mitigate exploitation.

Greater scrutiny would also be applied to student visa applications from high-risk providers.