Australia to overhaul occupations eligible for skilled migrants to boost slowing economy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-04 10:55:09|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government will overhaul the list of skilled migration occupations in an attempt to boost the nation's slowing economy.

Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, announced the review on Wednesday, saying that skilled migration is a key driver of Australia's economy.

Australia granted visas to approximately 82,000 skilled migrants in financial year 2018-2019. According to government data, about four of the top 10 occupations were in the information and communications technology (ICT) fields.

The shake-up will be designed to fill job vacancies in regional Australia and to meet demand that will be created by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's pledged 100 billion Australian dollars (67.6 billion U.S. dollars) infrastructure investment.

"Skilled migration has always been a part of this country's prosperity, but we need to ensure we are getting the right skilled ­migrants filling the skills shortages," Cash told News Corp Australia.

"This is all about ensuring Australia has a skilled workforce ready to build our nation-changing infrastructure program," she said.

"We have heard from stakeholders who have identified a growing need in some sectors for skilled workers."

"We have heard these concerns and are committed to ensuring there are no barriers to Australia's continued economic growth."

Cash's announcement came on the same day that data from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that Australia's economic growth has ground to a halt.

According to The Australian, economic growth sank to 0.5 percent during the final three months of the 2019 financial year, leaving annual growth at 1.4 percent, the slowest rate since 2009.

Asked if the country was in danger of entering a recession, Morrison said he could not see that happening.

"I can't see us going into that territory," he told Macquarie Media radio.

"I'm not surprised by the difficulties we're seeing globally at the moment. When we put the budget together in May, I said we should cut taxes, we should spend more on infrastructure, I said we should invest more in skills transitioning."

The review is expected to be completed by March 2020.