Aged Care Minister Anika Wells will consider using migration to help fill vacancies across the sector as both unions and providers call for permanent residency for imported staff. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Ms Wells said with borders now open, she would work with Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to develop policies to allow the recruitment of overseas workers “to meet the projected increased demand for labour and address genuine and persistent skill shortages in the industry.”
She said while recruitment of Australians to fill aged care sector roles was a priority for the Albanese Government, “migration has historically played a role in the aged care workforce and will continue to play a role in future”.
The crisis-plagued sector has haemorrhaged workers, with previous border closures worsening skills shortages and the army being called in to help manage facilities during the pandemic.
Operators need almost 60,000 workers to plug the national staffing gap.
Catholic Health Australia chief Pat Garcia has called for pathways to residency to induce workers to come to Australia. The body has previously recommended a moratorium on prioritising local recruitment before looking overseas.
Paul Sadler, acting head of the umbrella body Aged and Community Care Providers Association, said the organisation wanted personal care workers to be added to the skilled migration list.
Health Services Union national president Gerard Hayes – who is leading workers’ push for a 25 per cent wage rise – said the system needed to prevent the exploitation of visa holders, but also guard against any undercutting of pay or conditions.
‘Address genuine skills shortages’: New aged care minister’s migration focus (By Angus Thompson, Sydney Morning Herald)