11 May 2023
Migration is a central element of Australia’s national identity. The contribution of migrants has built the richly diverse, dynamic and multicultural Australia of today. Migration has also been critical to driving economic prosperity, helping Australia become one of the safest, most prosperous countries in the world. As we look ahead, our country faces challenges and uncertainty. Australia’s population is ageing. Productivity growth is declining. Our geostrategic environment is difficult, and we suffer severe skills shortages.
FCIA has been working with the Department of Home Affairs and migration agents to assist members to attract and sponsor overseas installers through the Skilled Visa program. The process is complicated, time consuming and inefficient. In late April, the Australian government released a 195- page review of the Australian migration system together with a discussion paper outlining the Government’s proposed migration strategy. Copies of these papers are available by contacting FCIA on info@FCIA.org.au.
The outcomes of the review and the government’s key strategies are summarised below.
Australia’s migration program is not ﬁt for purpose. The objectives are unclear, and successive governments have used piecemeal reforms which have not addressed underlying issues. Australia now has a migration program that fails to attract the most highly skilled migrants and fails to enable business to efficiently access workers. In the Flooring Industry skilled workers can only obtain temporary visas to work in regional areas for 3-5 years and must separately apply for permanent residency in order to stay in Australia. This process can take up to a year before the worker can start work.
Alongside domestic recruitment and training strategies, Australia’s migration system could be a powerful force to help us manage skills and labour challenges. Key policy strategies include:
Prioritising the people we need to enhance economic prosperity and security
Making it simple and efficient for employers and migrants
Delivering outcomes for Australians and migrants post-arrival
Restore integrity, fairness and inclusion at the heart of each stage of the system
During May and June 2023, the Commonwealth Government will consult with State and Territory governments and key stakeholders (unions, business groups, and civil society) on the outline of the Strategy and critical policy changes. The Government plans to release the ﬁnal Migration Strategy in late 2023. FCIA proposes to set up a focus group to prepare a formal submission to this process.
FCIA Focus Group:
FCIA members are invited to participate in an industry stakeholder group to workshop the current issues with Skilled Visas and promote solutions to overcome complexities and inefficiencies of the migration system for the ﬂooring sector.
The Focus Group meeting will be conducted via video conference in early June. Nominations are to be forwarded to email@example.com by COB 29 May 2023. Agenda and proposed dates will be publicised via FCIA Member Bulletin and social media. For further information contact Garry Thomas, Company Secretary, FCIA Group on 0420 921 396.