The Unicorns Podcast connects you to some of the best and brightest founders, CEOs, executives, business owners, innovators, entrepreneurs and inspiring leaders who make things happen and inspire others.

Host Justin Kelly, former broadcast journalist and PR veteran, chats with leaders from across Australia and internationally on business strategy; what it takes to build a successful company; how to overcome challenges, and advice for those on a similar journey.

In this episode, Justin interviews Siobhan O’Sullivan, Chief Growth Officer at the Australian Computer Society (ACS). The podcast explores the impact of skilled migration on regional Australia and its tech sector, informed by the Australian Computer Society’s “Skilled Journeys: Navigating IT Migration in Australia” report.

Surveying over 2,300 ICT skilled migrants, the findings are enlightening. A notable 90 per cent of these migrants find employment, with 80 per cent securing positions within the IT industry, debunking the myth that skilled migration leads to precarious gig economy roles. Instead, these individuals are pivotal in addressing Australia’s tech talent shortfall, proving their value in regional development and innovation.

Despite their success, skilled ICT migrants face challenges, including complex migration processes and workplace discrimination. Over half report visa and work rights issues, emphasising the need for policy reforms to ease these processes and promote inclusivity.

Regional Australia benefits from visa rule changes, attracting migrants to live and work outside major urban centres. However, retaining these individuals long-term is a challenge, often due to limited job and career progression opportunities.

The ACS advocates for policy changes to improve migrant integration and career prospects, such as clearer permanent residency pathways and anti-discrimination measures. Despite obstacles, the majority of migrants view their decision to move to Australia positively, highlighting the overall beneficial impact of skilled migration on the country’s tech sector and regional communities.