The government wants to bring more international businesses and skilled migrants to Australia as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
A new Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce will seek to find and encourage businesses with strong scale-up and employment potential to bring their operations to Australia.
It will also proactively approach highly talented people to bring them over.
Acting Immigration Minister, Alan Tudge, thinks Australia has advantages over countries like the US which banned immigration from visa holders back in June.
“Australia has always been an attractive destination for talent and investment, but given our relative success economically, from a health perspective, and socially, we will be even more attractive,” Tudge said.
“We want to capitalise on this and be very focussed on attracting key businesses and global super talent to Australia.
“This will aid our recovery and boost jobs for Australians.”
Economic recovery is naturally on the forefront of the government’s mind after figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week confirmed the country is in a recession after GDP fell another seven per cent in the June quarter.
And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg estimated in July that the current financial year would see government debt exceed of $184 billion, with income tax sliding by around $63 billion.
The taskforce will target specific industries like advanced manufacturing, finance (including fintech), and health.
A senate committee recently gave fintech an early green light to continue developing products with limited regulation.
The new taskforce also builds on the Global Talent Visa scheme that began last year. That program aimed to attract highly skilled, well-paid migrants to Australia by offering fast-tracked permanent residency.
The taskforce specifically sees “significant opportunities to attract talent from countries such as the United States, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore”.
Recently, the government flagged it would support people fleeing Hong Kong amid ongoing political unrest.
Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, said the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce would lure businesses and investors to Australia by drawing on the nation’s reputation “as a stable and attractive investment destination”.
“As our economy continues to transform, attracting talent and investment will be critical to bringing additional business nous and new technologies to help drive growth in the development of high-value goods and services in emerging industries,” Birmingham said.
“With one in 10 jobs already supported by foreign direct investment, boosting investment and getting more global businesses to set up shop here will help drive more jobs and opportunities for Australians.”
The Friday morning taskforce announcement coincided with news that some 23,000 Australians are stranded outside the country due to tight caps on the number of international arrivals allowed in each week.
With the government struggling even to open state borders, it is hard to foresee immigration returning in earnest for some time.