Over time, it has been observed that a majority of those trooping to Australia does not consider South Australia as their prospective place of residence.
Premier Steven Marshall is deeply concerned about how to attract skilled foreign nationals to the state, shifting their attention a bit from New South Wales and Victoria. In response to this, the State government has held a parliamentary meeting to think up ways of making this a reality.
On Wednesday, 13th February, the Economic and Finance Committee held public hearings to inquire about this.
In the past, Premier Marshall had aired out his worries concerning the fact that in an entire year, South Australia was only able to attract 10,000 immigrants; a number that can be gotten within 26 days in Victoria.
Mr. Flaviu Lazar has lived in Adelaide with his family since 2016. Prior to this, his job was to use his popular Poker tournaments to attract people to Morocco. According to him, having spent his life in six different countries, and visited 52 others, he has concluded that Australia is the best he has ever been to.
He, however, mentioned how frustrating it was for him to get a visa into the country. He thereby urged the Australian government to make changes to the policies guarding the process of obtaining a visa.
Low population growth in South Australia
It has been observed that the population growth in South Australia is lower than half of the National average population growth.
The Minister for Tourism, David Ridgway mentioned that the State Government is not just interested, but also involved in the immigration growth plan for South Australia through skilled immigration.
He also said that since the population growth is 0.7%, which is not even up to the national average, the state government will do its best to stop losing skilled immigrants to the Eastern States.
So far, the Economic and Finance Committee has received 36 entries from Industries, migration Experts, Universities and councils submit their opinions and ideas on how the population of South Australia can rise.
A research done for the Department of State Development by Deloitte Access Economics realized that for every four foreign students in SA, one full-time job would be created. This premise led to the deduction that if there are 10,000 foreign students in SA, 2,500 full-time jobs would be created; thus contributing $350M to the economy every year.
Some Suggestions to the Economic Boost Inquiry
The SA Chief Executive at Migration Solutions, Mark Glazbrook suggested that the state government should set up a visa program that is similar to the Regional 457 visa which was annulled in 2007.
According to him, the state Government should promote educational opportunities for international students within the region, and also focus on making South Australia internationally recognized as a thriving destination for viticulture, farming, horticulture, and agribusinesses.
Glazbrook added that the new visa program should require that international students remain in a region for years. He, however, added that to check exploitation of the suggested visa as a backdoor for immigrants who want to work and reside in Melbourne and Sydney, it would be wise to use the visa cancellation provisions and the various visa conditions, and also monitor the actions of the visa holders.
Again, John Banks, the council chief Executive for Port Augusta pointed out how staggeringly low the population figures for South Australia is when compared to what is obtainable in regional cities. He emphasized the lackadaisical attitude in SA towards pushing for regional growth.
He then suggested that if an estimated amount of $5 billion is invested in the pipeline, the Port Augusta construction industries will be needing thousands of employees within a short time frame of five years.
Mr. Banks went further to add that in no time, the Upper Spencer Gulf Region will be facing a labor shortage, and will rely on skilled immigrants to fill the vacancies.
Executive Director Daniel Gannon of the Property Council of Australia also made his suggestion. He said that what the state needs is targeted immigration as there are vacant skill gaps to be filled, jobs to create and the tax base to be grown.
He noted that if the state’s population growth rate is to grow to the point of competitiveness, the taxation system should be reformed; the economy should be diversified; the state should invest more in Infrastructure and the number of red tapes in the visa application procedure should be minimized.
Employers in Vineyards at South Australia find it difficult to get suitable employees to fill in the positions of viticulturalists, vineyard managers and cellar door staff. The South Australian Wine Association, therefore, suggested that the country’s yearly migration intake should be disseminated across the country from the population of the different states and territories.
This implies that since the population of South Australia is 7% that of the entire country, the state should have been given 7% of all the immigrants trooping into the country. It, however, received only 4.4% of immigrants as far back as 2017.
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