Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Liberal Government must keep an open mind when overhauling Australia’s immigration program, asserting temporary visa holders are key to regional services and growth.
He made the comments at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Tuesday 9th March where he spoke about bringing the economy out of recession.
“Rather than taking Australian’s jobs, we need to instead appreciate how filling critical workforce shortages with temporary visa holders can actually create jobs elsewhere in the economy and, in particular, sustain growth and services in our regional economies. I can assure you this won’t go away when the pandemic ends.”
The federal budget estimates a loss of 72,000 migrants from the migration intake for the 2020-21 financial year with net migration levels not expected to hit positive numbers until 2022-23.
The Prime Minister indicated the government would keep an open mind about reviewing visa classes for temporary worker reliant industries such as agriculture and hospitality, “When Australians won’t do the jobs, the jobs still need to be done,” Mr Morrison said.
Australia has not had migration levels this low since World War Two and will need to return to a higher level for the economy to continue to grow with Australia seeing unprecedented skills shortages.
Mr Morrison said visas with a regional condition are a better option for improving migration over the next few years.
“Conditionality is one of the great advantages of the temporary visa program. You can’t put conditions on permanent visas,” he said.
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