The number of migrants who can come to Australia each year could increase once border restrictions linked to COVID-19 are relaxed.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said annual migration inflow next year could be increased to help fill vacancies in key industries.
It comes as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for almost doubling the number of skilled migrants to 200,000 people per year.
“We have a lot of flexibility to make sure we deal with more skills shortages,” Hawke told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.
“We understand the calls for a raise, given that there has been a lag, but what we’re talking about here is carefully assessing how many Australians we can find work for, how many people can afford Australians to work and fill critical shortages. “
Last year, a cap was set at 160,000 people, which was mostly filled by partner visa applications following COVID-19 restrictions.
A ceiling of 160,000 people has also been set for this year.
“What this means is that when we open the borders, most will come from November 1, and we will see a good number of skilled migrants,” said Mr Hawke.
International travel is expected to resume on November 1 to New South Wales, but will be limited to Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families at first.
Skilled workers, international students and visa holders will be allowed to enter the country at a later date, followed by international tourists.
Migrant employment and training company AMES Australia has said increasing skill migration ceilings will lead to post-COVID economic recovery.
CEO Cath Scarth said the pandemic-induced disruption of skilled migration was a chance to improve the system.
“We are seeing labor shortages across the country due to COVID, so it is clear that migration is going to play an important role in our economic recovery,” she said.
“We know that early and intensive support to migrants soon after arrival allows them to find jobs that match their skills and qualifications much faster. “
Associated Australian Press