The National Retail Association (NRA) has welcomed today’s announcement that 200,000 visa holders will be allowed into Australia, declaring it an early Christmas present as the retail industry confronts a horrendous labour shortage.

The Prime Minister said the Federal Government would focus on skilled labour in order to accelerate the post-COVID economic recovery.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that businesses across the sector are currently struggling to have enough staff to operate at capacity.

“Many Australian retailers have battled their way through lockdowns the last 18 months. But these same businesses are now being hit with the double-whammy of now being unable to operate at maximum capacity as they simply don’t have the staff,”

“Before the pandemic there were over 100,000 skilled migrants coming to Australia each year, that’s a significant number to have ripped out of the economy the last two years.

“The retail sector is very reliant on skilled migration. It also provides the second-biggest workforce in the entire economy so a labour shortage has a knock on effect for other industries.

“Australia now has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, so we think this to be a common sense move by the government.

“Meanwhile we urge the remaining few Australians yet to be vaccinated to please consider doing so. Announcements like this only happen when the country meets vaccination targets and we need to continue reopening the economy.”