On Friday 8 February 2019, The Hon David Coleman MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs made an exciting announcement relating to skilled migration reform, in response to active lobbying by Council, business groups and the State Government over the past 12 months.
The Australian Government has committed to providing $19.4 million in funding over the next four years to support regional areas (including Adelaide and South Australia) to attract skilled migrants. This means that employers in Adelaide and South Australia wishing to employ skilled migrants to support their business will be given access to priority processing on visa applications.
Council, through its strong relationships with the local business community, has been made aware of the frustrations and difficulties experienced with the migration system when seeking to employ specialised international staff to grow their business. Council has actively raised these issues, along with a range of other issues relating to the limitations of the current migration system, through various meetings with officials at all levels of Government over the past two years and more recently in a formal submission to the State Government, to inform a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Economic Contribution of Migration to South Australia.
A key recommendation of Council’s submission to the State Government sought changes to be made to the existing Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) to make it more accessible and available to businesses and key industry sectors with regional migration status, such as Adelaide. The announcement by The Hon David Coleman MP has actioned this recommendation by announcing that “where Australian workers are not available, visa settings can be tailored to suit the needs of specific regions through tools such as Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs)”. Council will follow up this new opportunity with the State Government to determine how it can leverage this new policy setting to benefit our local economy.
The timing of this announcement is opportune as it complements the launch of Council’s City Living Campaign, due to launch in April this year, targeting business and skilled migrants to live in the City. Addressing migration reform and the launch of a City Living Campaign are two key actions of Council’s Residential Growth Action Plan.