Stricter Oz immigration policies causing skills shortages as fewer expats arrive

Published:  4 Oct at 6 PM
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For many decades, Australia has been a top choice for expats, but the dream now seems to be fading.

A recent statement by Australia’s immigration minister Peter Dutton revealed immigrant numbers in 2018 are now at a ten-year low, having dropped by a further 10 per cent over last year’s figures. According to those in the know, the stricter visas regime is the main reason for the drop, with skilled as well as family visas the worst affected. Since Dutton was appointed, 21,000 fewer expats have been admitted and a 46 per cent refusal rate as well as 17 per cent of withdrawn applications has had a strong effect on would-be migrants.

The intake of skilled expat professionals during the 2017-2018 financial year has fallen by 12,468 places to 163,000, the lowest since 2007, and permanent migration for expat workers and their families is now capped at 190,000. According to the minister, the restrictions have been put in place to ensure Australian citizens have first chance at the jobs market, with only the brightest and best expat talent wanted in the country.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of business leaders disagree with the changes, saying that skilled expats at all levels benefit both Australia and its citizens. Reports show some 90 per cent of skilled migrants head for Melbourne or Sydney, leaving other regions in the vast sub-continent short of the talent needed to support huge states such as South Australia.

The region’s Prime Minister Steven Marshall is more than unhappy about the situation, saying the state desperately needs expat professionals in order to deal with its growing skills shortage. He refers to Australia’s ‘two-speed economy’, saying he’s pleading with the government for the state to be granted a ‘preferential migrant status’ in order to attract students and skilled workers.
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