Submission on the Productivity Commission’s Issues Paper ‘Migrant Intake into Australia’

The submission responds to key issues canvassed in the paper, such as the benefits of permanent and temporary migration, the transition from temporary to permanent migration and the notion of a 'users pays' system.

Overwhelmingly, both permanent and temporary migration have been an economic positive for both the minerals industry and the wider Australian economy, with skilled migrants having an enviable record of settling smoothly into the Australian economy and broader society, with good labour market outcomes.

An effective skilled migration programme with the capacity to respond to economic demand within a framework that ensures integrity and efficiency is vital to meeting the skills needs of both the wider economy and the minerals sector.

The minerals industry is a discerning employer of skilled migrants, leveraging skilled migration to address ‘hard to fill’ experienced professional roles.  The industry’s use of Subclass 457 Temporary Skilled Visas, for example, sits at only 2.5 per cent of the minerals workforce.

The MCA also sees the transition of temporary skilled migrants along a permanent migration pathway as a positive, enhancing the permanent skilled migration stream.  This is because successful temporary migrants have experienced Australian working life and are, as such, better equipped to settle into Australian working life and Australian society more broadly.

The MCA is ultimately sceptical of using alternative methods for determining intakes, especially ‘user pays’ methodologies.  A proposition supporting user pays across the board militates against a merit-based approach (as is the case with skills criteria), and could compromise support for the overall migration programme.  A ‘user pays’ model may also place Australia at a competitive disadvantage in the global ‘war for talent’.

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