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Australia looks to overhaul immigration system

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Changes would include end to freeze on minimum wage for migrant workers

Australia is considering significant changes to its immigration system to enable highly skilled workers to enter the country more quickly and become permanent residents. The federal Labor government is planning to modify the points test used to select skilled migrants, which will assist in identifying individuals with the skill sets that are required for the Australian economy. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated that the current migration system is broken and is failing businesses, migrants, and Australians, and it cannot continue to do so. The government intends to expedite and simplify the visa process for high-skilled professionals and take steps to retain international students.

Furthermore, temporary skilled visa holders, who were previously denied the opportunity to apply for permanent residency, will be able to do so by the end of this year. The Australian government is also looking to end the decade-long freeze on the minimum wage for skilled migrant workers. The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, which had been frozen at AUD 53,900 ($35,600) a year since 2013 by a previous government, would see a new minimum wage of AUD 70,000 ($46,300) come into effect from July 1.

Clare O’Neil, Home Affairs Minister commented: “What has emerged is a system where it is increasingly easy for migrants to come to Australia in search of a low-paid job, but increasingly difficult for migrants with the skills that we desperately need. One of the reasons there is so much exploitation in Australia is because we have allowed low-wage migration programs to operate in the shadows.