Migrant skills not being utilised: research


Better utilising the skills of migrants already living in Victoria would help address skills shortages and boost the state’s economy, according to new, Australia-first research commissioned by nonprofit Settlement Services InternationaI (SSI).

The research ‘Billion Dollar Benefit: The economic impact of unlocking the skills potential of migrants in Australia’ found that over the next decade, Victoria could see an annual average increase of 12,351 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and a $2.5 billion boost in Gross State Product (GSP) by addressing the underutilisation of migrant skills.

The report also found more than 180,000 skilled migrants in Victoria are working below their skill levels, and aligning migrant skills with appropriate roles would help address critical skills shortages and create a substantial economic uplift.

SSI chief executive Violet Roumeliotis said Australia’s migration program was designed to attract international talent, particularly to address national skills shortages, but the research showed that more than 621,000 migrants were unable to work to their full potential.

“For years, we’ve known that the underutilisation of skills and qualifications was an issue for our migrant and refugee workforce, but for the first time, we can now quantify just what we as a country are missing out on,” she said.

The research found that unlocking opportunities for migrants and refugees would be possible through measures such as streamlining overseas qualification recognition, ensuring all migrants have access to language training in employment contexts and combating racial discrimination..

“This would deliver a significant economic benefit, but the real win is to individuals – dismantling barriers excluding migrants and refugees would ensure these workers have equal opportunity to realise their full potential,” Ms Roumeliotis said.