How is the government attempting to reduce the backlog of visas?
The government declared in July that it was committed to clearing the backlog in an effort to address Australia's dilemma of a skills deficit.
The Department of Home Affairs informed SBS News in the same month that it had redirected additional resources and was adding more people to deal with the issue.
This was reaffirmed during the Jobs and Skills Summit in September, where it was stated that the government would invest $36 million to hire 500 more employees over a nine-month period in order to speed up the visa application process.
Mr. Giles stated in his speech that 260 more personnel are now employed to handle visa requests. 260 additional individuals are being trained.
Since June 1st, he claimed, more than 2 million applications for temporary and permanent skilled visas had been processed by the Department, including 1.35 million for visas for tourists, students, and temporary skilled employees.
According to Mr. Giles, "regulatory adjustments" will "streamline" the processing of temporary visas, reducing the backlog.
According to the Australian Financial Review, since June 1 there have been around 2.2 million additional visa applications. This is an increase of 495,000 from the previous year when international borders were blocked because of the COVID-19 epidemic.
What makes the government so motivated to reduce the backlog?
According to Mr. Giles, the backlog caused "ongoing uncertainty" for applicants, which was challenging for both them and businesses.
Bridging visas, which can be provided when a person's substantive visa expires and they are waiting for a new application to be completed, is not "sensible," according to him, for "hundreds of thousands of people."
Mr. Giles told the conference that Australia did not have the luxury of functioning in an environment free from competition.
After the federal government raised the permanent migration cap from 160,000 to 195,000 visa spaces for the current fiscal year, he reiterated the intention of the government to improve pathways to permanent residency.
He said that the sponsored pathway to permanent residency is something that "leading technological corporations, medical research institutions, and significant infrastructure companies are faced with the untenable predicament of attempting to recruit across the world and unable to give," he said.
This government is aware of the advantages of obtaining permanent status as well as the risks associated with keeping people ensnared in a visa system.
What about increasing migrant workers' pay?
Labor has promised to raise the income threshold for temporary skilled migration (TSMIT).
The TSMIT, which has been frozen for almost ten years, is the minimum wage that must be provided when sponsoring a temporary skilled migrant. It is now fixed at $53,900.
Over 80% of full-time positions, according to Mr Giles, pay more than this amount.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, full-time adult employees in Australia make an average pre-tax income of $1,769.80 per week or $92,029.60 per year.
"This salary does not represent where skilled immigration fits into the current labor market. It is too low, thus this administration will raise it "Mr. Giles stated that the government will increase it, though he did not say by how much.
The TSMIT should be raised to $90,000, according to a demand by the Australian Council of Trade Unions. According to the Australian Chamber of Business and Industry, it needs to be increased to $60,000.
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