E.g., 10/16/2019
E.g., 10/16/2019

The Evolution of the Australian System for Selecting Economic Immigrants

May 2019

The Evolution of the Australian System for Selecting Economic Immigrants

Australia has attracted international attention for the generally strong labor market performance of the immigrants it admits, and as one of several countries with innovative points-based immigrant selection systems. Since the mid-1990s, Australia has moved away from a focus on family reunification to place greater emphasis on workers coming via temporary and permanent channels.

This report by MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration outlines the significant policy changes that have unfolded over the past two decades, resulting in a selection system that is predominantly employer driven and increasingly temporary in nature as access to permanent immigration has narrowed. The report also draws attention to challenges inherent in the design of skills tests, including Australia’s SkillSelect, a digital platform that allows officials to adjust on an ongoing basis the points required for entry, influenced by the supply of applicants and labor-market demands.

The researchers draw from Australia’s experience to offer several lessons for other countries that seek to develop a tailored and targeted immigration selection system, including the need for evaluation and periodic adjustment of immigrant selection criteria and selection procedures.

Table of Contents 

I.     Introduction

II.     The Evolution of Australia’s Approach to Immigration

A.    Permanent Skilled Immigration
B.    Temporary Skilled Immigration
C.    Low- and Semi-Skilled Temporary Immigration

III.     Trends and Challenges in the Australian System

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations