Employers warn plans to cut migration will hurt businesses

The Federal Government may consider cutting back on skilled migration in preparation for an increase in unemployment, but industry experts warn changes will hurt employers.

The Federal Government may consider cutting back on skilled migration in preparation for an increase in unemployment, but industry experts warn changes will hurt employers.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said in Senate hearings yesterday that migration programs must remain sensitive to the economy and say skilled migration levels will be “kept under review”.

“We are currently assessing all that economic information and there has been no decision taken in relation to this year’s program, but obviously that is something that will be kept under view,” he said.

“I would envisage, certainly, that the migration program for next year would be smaller than this year. No decision has been taken on that. Ultimately it is a decision to be taken by cabinet as part of the budget processes.”

But National Retail Association executive director Gary Black says any change to the migration program would “certainly be significant”.

“Industry, I think, unanimously would express a view that you can’t interfere with those types of programs, upon which many sectors are relying.”

“Review these programs if you will, yes, as it’s predicted unemployment will rise, but it really would be counter productive to interfere with skill-based programs.”

Restaurant and Catering Australia CEO John Hart also says any cutbacks made need to be directed to the right industries.

“My concern is that in some of the reports in the past couple of years, the movements of labour have been underestimated. That is both when it’s grown and retracted. So I don’t actually think we’re going to see a retraction of jobs anywhere near the percent they’re projecting.”

“That means there has to be a bit more detail on how they’re going to manage that reduction. You got to approach it very carefully.”

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