By ROD McGUIRK
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has announced it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 as it grapples with skills and labor shortages. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced on Friday the increase for the year ending June 30, 2023, during a two-day summit of 140 representatives of governments, trade unions, businesses and industry to address skills shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. O’Neil says many of the “best and brightest minds” are choosing to migrate to Canada, Germany and Britain instead of Australia. She described Australia’s immigration program as “fiendishly complex” with more than 70 unique visa programs. She says Australia will establish a panel to rebuild its immigration program in the national interest.