Government urged to prevent further skills shortages

Skilled migrant numbers need to be high to support the NSW economy

Government urged to prevent further skills shortages


By Mina Martin

Business NSW, a peak policy and advocacy body representing nearly 50,000 businesses in NSW, is calling on the federal government to prevent further skills shortages by ensuring that the overall number of nominated skilled migrants remains strong.

In a statement, the industry body said businesses in rural and regional NSW would be the worst hit if there was any decline to the 15,536 nominated skilled visa workers the state welcomed in 2022-23.

“International skilled migrant numbers need to remain high if we want to see the NSW economy continue to soar,” Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter (pictured above) said. “Many businesses in regional NSW are already dealing with skills shortages, driven by large infrastructure projects vacuuming up many of the available workers.”

Productivity data for the March quarter showed a decrease in productivity back to 2019 levels.

“It takes time to build human capital through education and training, but skilled migrants could be an immediate solution to arrest this downward trend and support economic growth,” Hunter said. “An increase in the supply of workers could ease wage growth pressures, help contain inflation, and ensure the state’s 870,000-plus businesses are nurtured.

Businesses are already facing a cluster of issues including sharp rises in interest rates, insurance costs, and broader inflation.”

In 2022-23, 15,536 visas across the Skilled Nominated (Subclass 190) visa, Skilled Work Regional (Subclass 491) visa, and Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) classes were earmarked for NSW.

“To accommodate these extra workers, state and federal governments must also ensure that there are enough houses for everyone in the community,” Hunter said. “Rather than shrinking the economy as a band-aid solution to the housing crisis, the federal government must work with all levels of government to address a chronic shortfall in the supply of new homes.”

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