BioMelbourne Network submission to the Policy Consultation Paper – Visa Simplification: Transforming Australia’s Visa System

October 2017

“Australia’s visa system must remain globally competitive to attract talent to build future industries and transition to a knowledge-led economy”

Health is a global market and access to global talent is critical for healthcare innovation. Companies need to be able to attract people with the right international experience to help Australian companies to grow in global markets and have impact for patients across the world.

The abolishment of the 457 visa system in April this year and changes to skilled migration programs has had far reaching consequences for R&D intensive sectors, such as biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceutical sector.

The federal government are looking to further review Australia’s visa system, moving from the currently available 99 visas to just 10 categories. The move to a simplified visa system that provides fast, simple and user friendly services could be a great advantage to the nation. It also provides a great opportunity to ensure that Australia’s visa system will be fit-for-purpose for the needs of fast-paced, future growth industries.

Talented people have a choice which city they want to live and work in. Melbourne has been voted the world’s most liveable city for the 7th year in a row now, and combined with a growth in high value, high impact jobs, in areas like healthcare innovation – Melbourne could be a global destination of choice for talented people who want to change the future of health – given access to a visa system that allows us to attract the best of the best.

Key points from the BioMelbourne Network submission to the Policy Consultation Paper – Visa Simplification: Transforming Australia’s Visa System:

  • The system needs flexibility to keep up with the pace of innovation and be demand-driven. The jobs of the future have not yet been invented, which means our migration system needs to be adaptable to meet the needs of the future of work
  • There needs to be a predictable, transparent and reliable pathway to permanent residence that offers a degree of surety for highly skilled migrants, otherwise it weakens the value proposition to come to Australia
  • Experienced talent is needed to build emerging industries and an upper age limit must not be set. Exemptions to the age limit of 45 years old are essential (e.g. MLTSSL) and there must not be age limit for skilled talent in high growth sectors
  • Experienced candidates in the biotech/medtech/pharma sector attract high salaries and would pay taxes, private health insurance, and contribute to skills and knowledge transfer that would result in a net contribution to Australia’s economy
  • Supportive, stable, long-term policy commitments to skilled migration will enable Australia’s transformation to a ‘knowledge-led’ economy, exemplified by the health innovation sector.

Thanks to Dr Rachel Cameron at Cameron Consult for partnering with BioMelbourne Network to write this submission.


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