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25% of skilled migrants not employed in own field

The white paper reveals that nearly a quarter of permanent skilled migrants find themselves working in occupations outside their chosen profession.

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The Australian government has identified a concerning trend in the employment outcomes of skilled migrants, with almost 80 percent of those in the accounting profession unable to secure work in their chosen field.

In response to this issue, the government unveiled its employment white paper, titled “Working Future,” outlining a series of reforms aimed at better aligning migration with domestic skills needs and improving employment prospects for migrants.

The white paper reveals that nearly a quarter of permanent skilled migrants find themselves working in occupations outside their chosen profession. This issue is most pronounced in the field of accounting, where less than 25 percent of migrants are employed within their area of expertise. In contrast, professions such as medicine, physiotherapy, and dentistry show a much higher level of skill alignment among migrant workers.

According to the white paper, the Australian migration program is in need of significant reform. It recognizes the need to better harness the skills that migrants bring to Australia and ensure they work at their skill level. It also acknowledges that migrants often face obstacles, including discrimination, unconscious bias from employers, and regulatory hurdles such as additional qualification requirements.

Gavan Ord, senior manager at CPA Australia, expressed support for the white paper’s objectives. He emphasized the importance of migration to address the shortage of accountants in Australia. Ord acknowledged that new migrants may require some time to adapt to the Australian job market but highlighted the potential benefits for employers in tapping into their skills. accounting profession

The white paper aims to address the disparities in migrants’ employment outcomes by improving the targeting of skilled migration and collaborating with states and territories to direct migrants to where their skills are most needed. It also plans to enhance pathways for international students to secure higher-skilled roles and revamp the temporary skilled migration system to provide a fast and efficient pathway for specialized, highly skilled workers.

Beant Shira of Tax Divine, an accountancy firm in Sydney, shared insights into the challenges faced by international students who enroll in accountancy courses primarily for the purpose of obtaining Permanent Residency.

Mr. Shira, who relocated from India to Australia with a background in accounting, speaks from his own experience. He asserts that the Australian education system plays a role in this trend, as it often fails to provide practical training. “Consequently”, adds Mr Shira, “individuals find that the actual work in the field significantly differs from what they learned in their studies. This disparity poses a considerable challenge to their success and frequently prompts them to pursue alternative career paths.”

The government’s commitment to addressing these issues reflects its intention to create a more responsive migration system that complements the domestic workforce. This aligns with the government’s reform priorities, which include building a future-proofed labor market, promoting productivity growth, and enhancing job security.

Simon Grant, group executive advocacy at CA ANZ, praised the initiatives outlined in the white paper. He emphasized the critical shortage of accounting, audit, and finance professionals in Australia and the growing demand for their skills. Grant welcomed the focus on better targeting skilled migration and improving employment outcomes for international students. accounting profession

The government’s forthcoming Migration Strategy, set to be released in late 2023, is expected to provide further details on additional reforms aimed at addressing these challenges and ensuring that Australia remains an attractive destination for skilled migrants.

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