Social Issues

Australia raises permanent skilled migration cap amid labor shortage

Sydney, Australia, Sep 2 (EFE).- Australia raised its permanent skilled migration cap to 195,000 for the current financial year amid a shortage of workers in key sectors of the economy, Interior Minister Claire O’Neill announced Friday.

Following the revision, an additional 35,000 people will be able to permanently settle in the country during the current fiscal year, which began on July 1.

The permanent skilled migration rate during the last financial year had been set at 160,000 places.

“Based on projections, this could mean thousands more nurses settling in the country this year, thousands more engineers,” O’Neil said at the Jobs and Skills Summit, which was hosted in Canberra by the Labor government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

O’Neil added that “one of Labor’s priorities is to move away from the focus on short-term migrants, toward permanency, citizenship and nation building,” according to the transcript of her speech published on the ministry’s website.

The new Australian government, which ended nine years of Conservative rule after winning the elections in May, has promised to put more emphasis on permanent immigration to revitalize the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of international borders and long lockdowns.

During the pandemic, Australian authorities suspended the entry of foreigners, while many visa holders, including temporary visa holders and international students, were forced to return to their home countries after being excluded from government assistance measures.

The lack of immigrants, who work in sectors such as hospitality, health care, fruit picking in rural areas and aged care, has created a severe shortage of workers in Australia, which has an aging population.

The situation has been exacerbated by absenteeism due to Covid-19 infections, has pushed many workers to the limit, including nurses, many of whom are working up to three shifts a day, and personnel at airports, where flights have been delayed due to a lack of ground staff.

The previous conservative administration of the country, which has an unemployment rate of 3.4 percent – the lowest in nearly half a century – cut the annual immigration intake from 190,000 to 160,000 before the pandemic due to problems in large cities, including Sydney and Melbourne, with regards to access to services and housing. EFE


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