PC urges use of analytics for migration policy

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 13 September, 2016

PC urges use of analytics for migration policy

The federal government has been advised to make use of data analytics and related technologies to help improve the process of setting immigration policy and selecting skilled migrants.

The Productivity Commission report into migrant intake into Australia recommends investments in data collection, integration and dissemination, as well as data analytics capacity, to improve the evidence base used to inform immigration policy.

According to the commission, the current system for selecting migrants does not adequately target those with the potential to make the greatest economic contribution.

Reforming the system “may require investment in data analytics capacity across government agencies”, the report states.

It recommends the establishment of a single universal points system for selecting skilled migrants, as well as an administrative dataset for all permanent skill stream immigrants.

Under the approach, the Department of Immigration would then systematically examine the economic outcomes of such immigrants using a predictive model, and then use the results to recalibrate the points system for selecting migrants.

“The data sets underpinning this kind of analysis would be very large and of high quality, and grow even larger over time. Given these characteristics, they would be well suited to data analytical techniques, such as machine learning, now commonly employed by commercial organisations globally,” the report states.

Coles, Woolworths, Medibank Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and Australia Post have developed similar data analytical capabilities, it adds.

The recommendation is in line with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s strategy to improve the data analytics capabilities of the public service, announced earlier this month.

Image courtesy Michael Coghlan under CC BY-SA 2.0

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