Australia needs 1.2 million workers within four years to meet the shortage of labour, which has opened up an opportunity for Bangladeshis looking to migrate to the 16th largest remittance sourcing destination for Bangladesh.
Stakeholders say Bangladesh needs to generate more skilled workers to grab the job market as Australia needs mostly skilled workforces.
The Australian government announced in September that it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 in the current fiscal year as the nation grapples with labour shortages.
Australia previously allowed a maximum 160,000 permanent migrants each year. The increase could see many more nurses, engineers and agricultural workers join struggling Australian businesses, Bloomberg quoted the country's Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil, who was speaking at the government's Jobs and Skills Summit held in Canberra on 2 September.
"Our focus is always Australian jobs first," she said. "But the impact of Covid-19 has been so severe that even if we exhaust every other possibility, we will still be many thousands of workers short, at least in the short term."
Dr Abul Hasnat Milton, a Bangladeshi-origin teacher based in New Castle, Australia, told The Business Standard, "The Bangladesh government should take the initiative to leverage the labour shortage in Australia. In particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can negotiate with their government and take the initiative to send people from Bangladesh on work visas."
He said, "Previously, people used to go from Bangladesh on a one-year work visa. But many never went back, prompting the Australian government to stop that opportunity."
Citing the example of the Philippines, he said, "There are skill assessment centres in the Philippines through recruiting agencies that assess the skills of Australian standards. If such a centre is established in Bangladesh, it will be easy to verify skills."
Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, almost 4,00,000 international students and 2,50,000 working holiday makers were employed each year in Australia, many in hotels and restaurants.
That scope ended when the country closed its borders in response to the pandemic and asked temporary residents to leave. Migration of skilled workers was also suspended.
Barrister Ershad Ahmad Nishan, an immigration lawyer and CEO of consultancy firm Study Solution said, "Currently, there are opportunities to go to Australia from Bangladesh mainly in three categories - student visa, dependent visa (family) and work visa for skilled manpower."
"Meeting the workforce shortage through student migration has always been a focus for Australia. Those who go to study are given job opportunities later. In cities other than Melbourne and Sydney, students can work for five years after graduation," he added.
Recently, the number of students from Bangladesh has increased, he said, adding, "Eight students have migrated through my firm for undergrad, masters and diploma labels. Getting a visa from Bangladesh has now become flexible as Bangladesh is now in the low-risk zone category from the risky zone."
The Financial Review recently reported that Australia will need 1.2 million more workers within four years, including more than 98,600 technology specialists, 20,400 solicitors and 7700 auditors, ramping up pressure on employers to offer bigger salaries and more promotions.
In these professions, employment is predicted to grow by 2,06,600 roles, or nearly 17%.
IT support and test engineers will be hot property, with employment forecast to jump by 43.7% to 157,000 roles nationally. The number of database and system administrators and IT support staff requirement is set to grow by more than 35%.
Recently, several Australian firms started hiring more Bangladeshi IT specialists, especially Pega developers/engineers, PHP/Symfony developers, Salesforce developers and .NET developers through Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL).
Md Salahuddin, counsellor (labour) and first secretary at the Bangladesh embassy in Australia, told The Business Standard, "We are aware of the manpower crisis in Australia. Bangladeshis who wish to take PR there can apply through the usual system. The embassy will provide all kinds of assistance if necessary."
Meanwhile, insiders say, after the announcement of Australia, efforts are being made to make people victims of fraud through flashy advertisements.
Kawsar Khan, a Bangladeshi immigration lawyer and journalist based in Sydney, wrote in his recent article, "Various videos often spread on social media claiming you can get an Australian visa simply by applying with no need of a sponsor or English language proficiency. These are clickbaits to attract viewers. Some of the videos also misrepresent various visa requirements."
He pointed out that often working holiday visas are promoted as attractive visas, which allow visitors to visit Australia for a one-year stay and part-time work.
"But, they do not say that the working holiday visa is given to citizens of only 19 countries, not including Bangladesh or even India," he said.
Barrister Ershad Ahmad Nishan said some people are always ready to dupe people and for this it is very important to create awareness.