Dutton pouts after Albo delivers his migration program

After the coalition stalled for nearly a year, deepening our labor shortage, Dutton has the nerve to complain about the victory of the labor migration program, writes Doctor Aboul Rizvi.

ALL THOSE businesses, schools, hospitals and homebuilders clamoring for skilled labor from the end of 2021 will have every right to be mad at the Home Office (DHA) leadership for not issuing the 2021-22 migration program of nearly 16,500 visas.

The Migration program 2021-22 issued 143,556 visas against a Cabinet-approved planning level of 160,000. This despite massive backlogs of applications and an increase in new applications for permanent residence from 157,989 in 2020-21 to 185,030 in 2021-22.

This is probably very different from the lack of visas of 27,583 designed by Pierre Duton in 2017-18 on his contrived claim that he was bringing integrity back into the visa system – he was doing no such thing. Under Dutton, the visa system – especially asylum visas – was torture like never before.

The migration program deficit in 2021-22 is the result of the chaos in the visa system which should be put at the feet of the DHA leadership as the former immigration minister is highly unlikely Alex Hawk wanted a shortfall given record labor shortages.

Labor shortages were well and truly apparent as of August 2020 when they were reported Jobs exploded to 208,000, and the unemployment rate began to fall sharply.

By November 2021, when the DHA learned that international borders would soon be reopened, vacancies had reached over 400,000 – a level we had never seen before. The unemployment rate had fallen to 4.2%.

This should have been the trigger for DHA management to ensure that the migration program would be delivered at the Cabinet-approved planning level of 160,000 and would be ready to deliver at an even higher level should the Morrison government decide that would respond to extraordinary labor shortages.

Source: ABS Jobs Australia

But no.

DHA management continued to ignore calls for help with labor shortages. Indeed, in January 2022, the Morrison government Posted only 200 invitations for Skilled Independent Visas and another 200 for Skilled Regional Work Visas, followed in April 2022 by another 1,000 invitations for Skilled Independent Visas and 500 Skilled Regional Work Visas.

It was only in August 2022 that the Albanian government issued 12,200 Qualified independent visa invitations. There’s no reason the Morrison government couldn’t have done this by the end of 2021 and made a significant contribution to alleviating skill shortages much earlier.

Government issues largest batch of qualified independent visas in years

Indeed, in September 2022, Peter Dutton ironically said:

“…we need an increase in the number of migrants, but we will see what the government will actually deliver as it may take many, many months or even years in the pipeline.”

After the Morrison government sat on its hands for nearly 12 months over the labor shortage, Dutton is now complaining that it will take a long time to implement the increased migration scheme!

Doctor Aboul Rizvi is an Australian freelance columnist and a former undersecretary of the Department of Immigration. You can follow Abul on Twitter @Rizvi Abul.

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