ACS supports increase in skilled migration

The Productivity Commission draft report into the economic impact of migration and population growth in Australia has received a strong endorsement from the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

The draft report, released last week, examines the impact of population growth, including migration, on Australia's productivity growth. Final analysis of the submission closes April this year.

A key part of the draft report shows skilled immigrants are likely to make up 70 percent of the planned migrant intake in 2005-2006 period, which compares to 29 percent a decade ago.

The planned number of skilled independent visas in 2005-2006 is up to 49,000, an increase of just over 8000 on 2004-2005.

Australian Computer Society CEO Dennis Furini said targetting skilled people to migrate to Australia is ideal for the local IT industry, but the focus should be on skills that are in short supply.

Currently those skills, in line with Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs' recommendations are SAP, Siebel, e-commerce and verified network security experts.

Furini added that a clamp-down on migration levels could make it difficult for Australians wanting to work overseas, and Australian universities have a role to play in stemming the level of IT skills loss in Australia.

"Migration makes the market more competitive, as people bring skills into the work environment and then transfer those skills to locals, but the important thing is targetting the people with skills that are in short supply," Furini said.

"Universities need to tailor courses not to offer just run-of-the-mill IT, because IT is ubiquitous ... people that combine IT degrees with another area of learning will find themselves in high demand."