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Louise Bennet
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Skilled migrants are enjoying better jobs and higher levels of employment thanks to a shift in policy, according to a new study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.

Co-author of the study, Dr Hielke Buddelmeyer, said the federal government has improved employment outcomes by increasing the number of employer sponsorships available and tightening selection criteria.

“In the mid 2000s the government selected four skilled migrants for every one selected by employers but now that division is approximately equal,” Dr Buddelmeyer said.

Allowing more employers to sponsor migrant workers is like subcontracting migrant selection to the employers themselves, which encourages higher employability.

“The shift from a ‘supply-driven’ to a ‘hybrid’ model values survival of the fittest.  It ensures applicants who may not have the strongest skill sets on paper but who are highly employable are still afforded the opportunity to seek sponsorship,” said Dr Buddelmeyer.

“This results in more stability and better employment outcomes for both migrant workers and their employers,” he said.

Skilled migrants employed as managers and professionals have also increased by five percent since 2005.

“We believe that part of the reason for this is a result of tightening the skilled migrant selection criteria,” said Dr Buddelmeyer.

“There is increased emphasis on English language skills and work experience which has also resulted in the successful applicants falling into a slightly older age group,” he said.

Dr Buddelmeyer explained that these results reflect the first year of employment for migrants entering Australia.

“The next step will be to examine employment over an extended period, but so far the results suggest the government’s approach to policy has significantly improved employment outcomes for skilled migrants and is something Australia should be very proud of,” he said.