How Australia’s Migration System is wanting to be fixed by the Government

How Australia’s Migration System is wanting to be fixed by the Government

Australia’s migration system has come under scrutiny from the country’s Home Affairs Minister, Clare O’Neil, who is calling for an overhaul of the current system to make it more appealing to skilled migrants. In a speech at the Australian Financial Review’s workforce summit, Ms O’Neil identified the problems with the current system and the need for reform.

Rethinking the “Permanently Temporary” Migration

Ms O’Neil pointed out that Australia’s migration system has become “permanently temporary,” which is hurting both the migrants and the economy. She warned that the complexity and stringency of the system are making it difficult for skilled migrants to arrive in the country, with many being forced to leave after graduating. This makes Australia less attractive to talented international students, who are an untapped dividend for the country’s economy.

Shift to Permanent Skilled Migration

The Home Affairs Minister is calling for a shift to permanent skilled migration, which would allow skilled workers to stay in Australia for the long term. This would address the current problem of worker shortfalls in various industries and make it easier for talented international students to remain in the country. Ms O’Neil believes that this shift is necessary to create a more strategic, less complex, and more attractive migration system.

Missed Opportunities

Ms O’Neil described the reliance on temporary work as a “huge missed opportunity” for businesses. She criticized the previous Coalition government’s rapid expansion in temporary migration, which occurred through “negligence” rather than proper policy debate. She claimed that while the number of temporary migrants in Australia has increased to 1.9 million, the intake of skilled permanent migration remained stagnant at 30,000 annually.

The Need to Speed Up Recognition of Overseas Qualifications

The Home Affairs Minister also stressed the need to speed up recognition of overseas qualifications. She cited the example of a qualified foreign nurse, who can have to pay up to $20,000 and wait 35 months to have their qualifications recognized, which is not an attractive destination for the workers that Australia really wants and needs.

Ending the “Permanently Temporary” Conditions

Ms O’Neil is also focused on ending policies that create “permanently temporary” conditions for migrants. This would allow them to invest in their education, start a business, and set roots in Australia, which would be good for both the migrants and the country.


In conclusion, the Home Affairs Minister has called for a major rethink of Australia’s migration system. She believes that the country needs to shift away from “permanently temporary” migration and seize the opportunity provided by skilled people already in Australia and abroad. Ms O’Neil’s proposed overhaul of Australia’s migrant system will make it easier for skilled migrants to arrive, address worker shortfalls, and allow talented international students to remain in the country for the long term. The government is currently reviewing the country’s migration system, and it is hoped that the reforms proposed by Ms O’Neil will be implemented in the near future.

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