Date posted: 23/01/2023

Joint submission on A Migration System for Australia's Future

A submission to the Department of Home Affairs as part of the Australian Government's comprehensive review of the migration system.

On 2 September 2022, Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O'Neil, announced a comprehensive review of Australia's migration system to ensure it better meets existing challenges and sets a clear direction for the coming decades.

The Minister appointed three eminent persons to guide the review: Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, Dr Joanna Howe and Mr John Azarias.

CA ANZ and CPA Australia's joint submission focuses on growing the economy through the migration system, and how this can support and complement opportunities for jobs and skills for Australians. 

With a global talent shortage, rarely has it been more important to be strategic about how Australia attracts and retains global talent, including accounting and finance professionals.

Our submission addresses the challenges and opportunities Australia faces; how migration can contribute; and current and potential barriers to migration.

The key immediate actions and medium to longer-term reforms we recommend to the government are set out below, and discussed further in the submission.

Immediate actions

  • Clarify that the purpose of migration is to grow the productive capacity of the nation and to play an important role in nation building through the economic, social and cultural contributions of migrants.
  • Clarify that skilled migration serves two primary objectives: to address skills shortages and to increase human capital.
  • Maintain the preference for skilled migrants in the Migration Program.
  • Within the Skills stream, preference prospective migrants following points-tested pathways.
  • Continue to preference the migration of accounting and finance professionals.
  • Implement the commitment to extend the post-study work rights of graduates from fields where there are verified skills shortages, including accounting.
  • Continue to look for opportunities to introduce processing efficiencies.
  • Abandon the practice of prioritising migrants based offshore.
  • Maintain the increased level of resourcing required to address the visa processing backlog.

Medium to longer-term reforms

  • Focus more on the quality, and less on the quantity, of migrants by designing arrangements where the main policy lever is points and not caps or ceilings.
  • Shift the focus of skilled migration from occupations to skills by transitioning from occupation lists to a skills list.
  • Review the criteria used to assess the quality (or human capital) of migrants, including recognising shorter form credentials and prior learning.
  • Advance desired regional growth and development outcomes by doing more to attract onshore and offshore migrants to settle in the regions.
  • Reduce visa categories and simplify conditions by dispensing with those that ‘push’ migrants to the regions.
  • Increase flexibility in the migration system.
  • Plan for population growth.
  • Support the work readiness of recent and prospective migrants by extending the Professional Year Program.
  • Support migrants to integrate into Australian workplaces and culture through professional mentoring.

Our submission also recommends that the government does not introduce a wage threshold, as it would create more barriers than it would overcome.

A Migration System for Australia's Future TOR

Terms of reference (TOR) for the consultation on A Migration Systems for Australia's Future.

Read the TOR

AFR on skilled migration

Australian Financial Review article 'Abolish jobs-based skilled migration lists, accountants say'.

Read AFR article

Accountants Daily on migration

Accountants Daily article 'Make migration flexible, fair and simple, Canberra urged'.

Read Accountants Daily


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