During a live session hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on 20 April, Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, indicated that migration will be crucial for Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
Minister Hawk said a ‘well-managed’ skilled migration program will underpin the planning levels for 2021-22.
Skilled migration will be calibrated to support the needs of Australia’s growing industries, to fill critical skill gaps to support businesses in both regional areas and cities, and generate jobs in critical sectors to assist national economic recovery.
“The government sees the migration program as integral to how Australia will recover from COVID as well and accessing the skills that we need, the shortages that we will have in our economy as it recovers, will be a high priority for the migration program in coming years,” Mr Hawke said.
In recent years, migration has overtaken natural increase as the dominant component of population growth. This has led to an accelerated rate of population growth over the past two decades.
Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is expected to remain negative until at least 2022-2023, based on the government estimates released in December. But as the country’s international borders remain closed, the situation presents a critical problem for the Australian economy that is heavily reliant on overseas migration.
Mr Hawke said the federal government recognises the challenges triggered by COVID restrictions and the impact that the missing cohorts of economic migrants, including international students, tourist and temporary visa holders, are having on the Australian economy.
He said these groups of people provided critical labour for Australia’s primary production sectors, so the government recognises that skilled migration will play an important role in economic recovery and also acknowledges the contribution of temporary migrants.