Attracting student and working holiday maker visa holders back into the country and letting those already here work more hours are critical steps to keeping shelves stocked and supply chains functioning, Business Council executive director Jess Wilson said.
“We welcome the government’s sensible changes to boost the workforce, keep businesses functioning and ensure Australians can access the products and services they need.
“Businesses are experiencing workforce shortages of up to 40% in some sectors.
“Not only do critical labour shortages risk holding back our recovery but they put serious strain on supply chains across the economy and force businesses to close their doors.
“Temporary changes to give international students the chance to work more hours in all sectors of the economy are common sense. Many international students are already here and contributing – now they have a chance to do even more.
“Working holiday makers are also crucial in sectors like agriculture, so making Australia an even more attractive destination with lower costs and faster approval times is a no brainer.
“These changes combined with the sensible adjustments to isolation and close contact rules will help address critical workforce shortages in the short term.
“Businesses are committed to working with governments, health officials and workers to see Australia through these challenges and keep our strong recovery going.”