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  • Farm workers at a hydroponic farm in South Australia. (Supplied)
A think-tank has recommended new regional visa and a new start-up visa for international students and temporary workers on 457 visas to tap new entrepreneurial ideas.
21 Sep 2017 - 12:16 PM  UPDATED 22 Sep 2017 - 12:29 PM

34-year-old Indian migrant Jaswant Singh was forced to fight a legal battle in order to stay in Australia after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection refused his South Australian employer’s application for an employer-sponsored visa.

Mr Singh’s employer, Dino Musolino who operates hi-tech hydroponics to grow herbs said Jaswant was a “highly-valued worker” and if he was forced to leave Australia, it would be a huge loss for his business. 

A South Australian think tank says since 1981, more people have moved interstate than those who moved to SA. It says migration is important for the state to maintain its growth.

The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies of the University of Adelaide has proposed a new Temporary Regional Visa with a broader occupation list including jobs with lower skill levels, leading to permanent residency, in order to encourage those migrants to settle in country towns who are willing to take up job vacancies not filled by locals.

The SACES has recommended opening up more occupations for work visas and establishing an easier pathway to citizenship to deal with the severe problems faced by businesses in regional areas, such as Mr Musolino’s, in finding job-ready workers despite a higher than average unemployment in the state. It found that many locals aren’t willing to move to regional areas, forcing employers to fill permanent positions with workers on short-term visas, forcing them to re-fill the positions and retrain the workers every few months.

The report authors Dr Andreas Cebulla and Steve Whetton have made fourteen recommendations which it claims would help drive economic growth in regional areas while reducing pressure on big cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne.

Among the recommendations made is to have region-specific occupation lists and capping the number of regional visas regionally rather than nationally and improving post-study work rights for VET graduates in regional areas. It has also recommended creating a new start-up visa for international students and temporary workers on 457 visa to tap potential entrepreneurial ideas.

It also recommends easing conditions imposed on certain occupations restricting access only to business with a minimum turnover size, besides cutting down delays in processing temporary skill visas by shifting places into the demand-driven visa classes from other visa categories.

Migration Solutions that organised funding for the research says a genuine demand-based migration program would benefit the regional economy.

“For too long there has been a widespread misunderstanding that migration takes jobs, However, this research shows that under the right settings, rules and regulations that migration can stimulate economic growth and prosperity,” Migration Solutions CEO Mark Glazbrook told The Advertiser.

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