Australia has declared that it will increase the number of permanent immigrants it accepts by 35,000, to 195,000, to address its labor and skill shortages.
Australia's Canberra (AP) — As the country struggles with a labor and talent deficit, the Australian government said on Friday that it will boost its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 in the current fiscal year.
During a two-day summit of 140 leaders of governments, trade unions, enterprises, and industry to address skills shortages caused by the epidemic, Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil announced the hike for the year ending June 30, 2023.
According to O'Neil, "our focus is always on Australian employment first, which is why so much of the summit has focused on training and the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups."
But even if we pursue every other option, we will still be thousands of workers short, at least initially, she continued. "The impact of COVID has been so severe."
Many of the "best and brightest minds," according to O'Neil, are emigrating to Canada, Germany, and Britain rather than Australia.
She called Australia's immigration policy, which includes more than 70 distinct visa categories, "fiendishly convoluted."
According to her, Australia will create a committee to revamp its immigration policy for the benefit of the country.
On Thursday, the opening day of the Jobs and Skills Summit, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that 180,000 free spots would be offered in vocational education institutions next year for 1.1 billion Australian dollars ($748,000), to address the country's skills shortfall.
Early in the pandemic, Australia implemented some of the tightest travel restrictions of any democratic nation for 20 months before gradually reopening to skilled workers starting in December of last year.
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