A new report has revealed that in order for Australia to boost their economic growth more skilled migrants would have to be used to fill gaps in their employment market.
In the report CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin is quoted as saying that significantly increasing migration would deliver a 5.9 per cent increase in gross domestic product per capita.
Martin added that research and planning into infrastructure requirements would be necessary if the Australian population is to grow that dramatically.
"The question about the benefits that would come clearly has to be offset by considering things like where are those people going to settle. If they are continuing to into the capital cities of Australia, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, that potentially can play into congestion problems and so on,” said Martin.
“As a consequence our report has also recommended that government policy should be tweaked to provide some encouragement for migrants coming to Australia to go to regional areas,” Martin said that this objective would be achieved by changing the point system in a way that would encourage migrants to settle in rural Australia.
Professor Martin said that the Australian migration system should be amended so that mostly skilled migrants would be granted visas. These changes, CEDA suggests, should include tightening entry requirements around age skills and English-language proficiency.
"Some of the [immigration] restrictions must be slightly tightened so that when people are coming, as is the case with 457 visas, they are coming for real jobs and they are not simply aren't being part of an influx of people coming with potentially unskilled qualifications that can't be applied in specific sectors.”
“There should be a review of what that means, that review should take into consideration whether or not there is the potential to affect the ability of local people to get jobs, but importantly as well the qualifications that people are bringing into this country and whether they are meeting the skills shortages that can clearly be more tightly identified."
The CEDA report is the second such report in only two months to call for changes to Australia’s Immigration and Entry Requirements. The first report, released in September, based on an investigation by the Australian Productivity Commission also stated that more skilled migrants would be vital to the country’s future economic health.
Commenting on the report Su McCluskey, a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration, said, "Certainly there is a clear link between population growth and productivity. We do know that we need to increase productivity gains to be able to increase our economic prosperity and so we really do need to be looking more broadly at a policy context that looks at what are the skills we need for future jobs from both a domestic and overseas perspective."