Australian Plan to Increase Minimum Wages Annually for Skilled Migrants

2023 01 AU Open DX38790

Under a federal plan, skilled migrants brought in on temporary visas to address labour shortages will see yearly increments in their minimum pay rates.

This proposal, intended to be part of a broader migration reform set to be unveiled later this year, has triggered mixed responses. Businesses are concerned that it will gradually deplete the pool of available workers, while smaller enterprises advocate for carve-outs to enhance their competitiveness.

The leaked circular, shared with unions and industry groups, also hints at creating specific visa pathways tailored for childcare and disability workers. This move is aimed at addressing staff shortages in these industries. The government previously implemented a substantial increase in the base pay for skilled migrants in July, raising it from $53,900 to $70,000. This change was intended to stem the influx of temporary, low-cost labour into the economy, which had contributed to the exploitation of vulnerable workers. It also served the dual purpose of reducing the overall net migration level, which stood at 454,000 for the year ending in March.

According to the discussion paper, the proposed strategy involves annually adjusting the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) and the high wage threshold for specialist migrants. This adjustment is aimed at preserving the relative positioning of these thresholds within the wage hierarchy, all while upholding the original intent and integrity of each migration pathway.

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