Australia is overhauling its visa regime as it faces a labor shortage following strict COVID rules

Australia is reviewing its entire visa and immigration system to quickly increase staff numbers.

The review is due in February.

Since borders closed during COVID, the country has struggled to find enough skilled and unskilled workers to fill jobs and drive the economy.

after Canada, Australia it has the second worst skills shortage among the richest countries in the world.

Beneath the Sydney Opera House, Solotel, a waterfront bar and restaurant, is calling for staff.

Its chief executive Elliot Solomon said they urgently needed chefs, waiters, bartenders and baristas.

“We have some excellent restaurants and we can’t open them on certain days because we don’t have enough staff,” he said.

Mr Solomon said wages would increase by 25% over the course of a year, with servers averaging around £20 an hour.

Employee incentives include a £500 sign-up bonus and half price food and drink for employees and their friends.

Other restaurants bring foreign workers into the country and provide accommodation.

In March, British tourist Chloe Ankers moved from Manchester to Cairns and now to Sydney.

“There are jobs everywhere along the coast,” she said.

“The pay is amazing, compared to going home there is a big difference.”

With most foreigners prefer the beach to the bush, staff shortages are even worse in the regions and remote areas.

Before COVID, 80% of the seasonal agricultural workforce came from backpackers.

Three hundred miles west of Sydney in Leeton, tons of oranges are rotting because there aren’t enough people to pick them.

Orchard owner Frank Mercuri said it was “devastating” as his business lost 140,000 pounds of fruit.

Australians are not filling these jobs – the unemployment rate is at its lowest in 48 years.

It’s an employee’s market. A survey by the National Australia Bank found that one in three companies want to hire more people.

In total, nearly half a million workers are needed in almost every industry, from hospitality and tourism to construction, technology, agriculture and mining, as well as teachers and nurses.

There is also a severe shortage of traders; mechanics, builders and plumbers – the list goes on.

Car repair shop owner Cameron Virtue is under pressure to expand his business. Without enough technicians, he works 70 hours a week.

He said: “I think we need to look more overseas, generally I think the technicians trained in the UK are much better than what we have here.”

Mechanic Joel Swain has no regrets trading North Yorkshire for a summer in Sydney.

He recently returned home to see family and friends and says that was “the final nail in the coffin”.

“You see that people are not happy [in the UK] and more and more of my friends are migrating, traveling around Asia and coming to Australia for this life,” he said.

Australia believes it doesn’t need to sell the country to migrants as it sees itself as the ‘lifestyle’ capital of the world.

However, the pandemic saw one of the most severe COVID border closures in the world, with the previous government telling foreign students and tourists to “go home.”

They now have to deal with exorbitant international airfares to travel here.

So when it comes to migration, Australia has a lot of challenges and land to catch up on.

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