Labor’s proposed changes to temporary skilled migration impose big costs on small business

23 Apr 2019 |

Labor’s announced changes to temporary skilled visas will impose big cost increases on small businesses who need to fill skill shortages through temporary skilled migration, particularly in regional communities, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest network of businesses, said today.

“Labor’s plan to increase the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) to $65,000 and significantly increase the training levy will make it much more expensive and difficult for small business owners who need to fill skill shortages through temporary skilled migration,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said.

“The size of the TSMIT increase, and an increase of over 50% in the levy that small businesses will have to pay each year that they employ a skilled temporary migrant, will hit hard.

“Skilled migrants are paid the same market rate as Australians, as they should be. But if the market rate is less than the TSMIT – as is more likely in regional communities – the employer is not allowed to employ a skilled migrant. A much higher TSMIT will make it harder for small businesses to afford to fill skilled jobs. Businesses in small towns will suffer, putting other jobs at risk.

“The Skilling Australians Fund Migration Training Levy already forces small businesses to pay $4,800 plus a hefty application fee to sponsor a skilled migrant over four years on a Temporary Skills Shortage visa.

“Labor’s plan to impose an even higher amount – $7,800 – for small businesses to access the temporary skilled migration system is out of proportion.

“Employers already have major incentives to hire skilled Australians, if people are available.

“The new policy will hurt small businesses who are struggling to fill skills shortages and who turn to skilled migration as a last resort.

“Access to the skilled migration program is already time-consuming and expensive. We urge Labor to adopt a measured approach to skilled migration – one which is accessible and responsive while maintaining robust compliance and integrity. Migrants don’t take jobs, they create jobs.”

Emily Kennelly

Adviser - Public Affairs & Advocacy

P  |  0438 730 772

E  |  [email protected]

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