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Migration reform to boost Australia’s skilled workforce

11 December 2023

ATN Executive Director, Luke Sheehy, said Australia needs a stronger supply of skilled workers, both domestic and international.

11 December 2023

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) believes the migration reforms announced today by the Albanese Government can deliver two key outcomes – to ensure there are enough skilled workers to fill current and future workforce shortages and also provide pathways for international students to learn, stay and earn.

ATN Executive Director, Luke Sheehy, said Australia needs a stronger supply of skilled workers, both domestic and international.

“We back any policy setting which recognises that we cannot deliver enough skilled workers on our own in order to meet critical shortages in areas such as tech, health and engineering and these migration reforms can help fill these gaps,” he said.

The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for student visas was no longer fit-for-purpose or compatible with the aims of Australia’s skilled migration and international education system. The new Genuine Student test reaffirms the quality and purpose of our international education system, while recognising that some students will remain in Australia and further contribute to our society and economy.

“It’s also crucial that we build pathways to retain the best and brightest minds, including the international students who come to study here and want to stay and call Australia home, so they can use those skills to meet the country’s skills and economic needs.”

ATN universities are at the forefront of delivering many of the graduates the Tech Council has identified which will be required to help meet the Government’s 2030 target of 1.2 million technology-related jobs.

Ai Group and ATN have jointly called for adaptive and innovative solutions to fill skills gaps in priority areas. Universities and industry are ready to work in partnership with the Government to ensure the skilled migration pathways for students, graduates, and expert researchers are sustainable, adaptative and attuned to the needs of Australia’s economy and society.

“Skilled migration should be built on the strengths and quality of our international education system – which will be underpinned by measures in the Government’s new strategy. We need to work together to provide an ideal foundation on which to meet the needs and aspirations of Australians, local industry, students and migrants,” Mr Sheehy added.

ATN also welcomes the role of Jobs and Skills Australia in defining Australia’s skills needs using evidence, including advice from tripartite mechanisms, and improved approach to skills recognition and assessment to better use migrants’ skills and abilities.

Media Contact (not for publication)

Frank Coletta (Manager, Media and Communication) m: 0468 987 295 e: frank.coletta@atn.edu.au