Skilled migration reform supporting Australia's growing economy
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Australia's migration program continues to deliver its economic and social aims for a healthy economy, including boosting skilled migration in regional Australia to record numbers, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, announced today.
Releasing the final outcomes for the 2010–11 Migration Program, Mr Bowen said the Gillard Government's ongoing skilled migration reforms were ensuring critical skills needs in high-demand sectors and regional areas were being addressed.
'The government is supporting our growing economy and meeting family reunion objectives, while ensuring we meet the skill shortages in areas of high demand,' Mr Bowen said.
The total outcome for the 2010–11 Migration Program was 168 685 places against a planning level of 168 700. The 2010–11 skill stream outcome of 113 725 places accounted for 67.4 per cent of the total Migration Program.
Mr Bowen said the Labor Government had more than doubled the number of places specifically set aside for regional Australia since it took office.
'In 2011–12 the government is going even further with 16 000 places for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme – a 60 per cent increase on last year's levels,' he said.
There was also an increase to the top priority employer-sponsored program to 39 per cent of the skill stream, part of the government's policy to directly target skills shortages through a more demand-driven approach.
'Skilled migrants deliver significant benefits to the Australian economy as their employment contributes to economic growth and their relative youth offsets some of the impacts of the ageing labour force,' Mr Bowen said.
For the first time ever, China was Australia's largest source of migrants with a total 29 547 places or 17.5 per cent of the total migration program in 2010–11. The United Kingdom and India followed, with 23 931 and 21 768, respectively.
Mr Bowen said the government’s new skilled migrant selection register, SkillSelect, would be introduced from 1 July 2012, allowing prospective migrants to express interest in skilled migration before they are invited to lodge a skilled visa application.
'SkillSelect will ensure that visas are allocated to the best and brightest skilled migrants so that the Migration Program can better meet the needs of Australian businesses,' he said.
In 2010–11, the government continued to provide for family reunions with 54 543 family places (32.3 per cent of the total migration program), recognising the benefits to Australians of having parents, partners, carers or children join them to live in Australia permanently.
The Migration Program Outcomes 2010–11 report can be found on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.
See: Migration Program Statistics
Last update: Wednesday, 10 August 2011 at 10:12 AEST