(Image: Private Media/Tom Red)

Just as the government was recently releasing its Intergenerational Report spelling out, yet again, the need for higher productivity, more migration and higher participation to protect us from the consequences of an ageing population, it was busily undermining its message.

On July 1, changes to the allocations and priorities of the government's skilled migration program commenced, in which -- according to then population minister Alan Tudge last year when he announced them -- "priority within the skill stream will be given to Global Talent [visas], the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), and Employer-Sponsored visas". That included the doubling of the number of BIIP visas to 13,500 in the 2020 budget and the tripling of Global Talent visas to 15,000.

The BIIP category means that 13,500 people a year will in effect be able to purchase a visa for long-term residency in Australia -- and a pathway to permanent residency -- if they can bring enough assets with them, on the basis that they will be bringing additional innovation, business skills and investment into the country.