Budget 2009–10 – Migration Program: the size of the skilled and family programs
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
The Australian Government has further cut the permanent skilled migrant intake to 108 100 places for the 2009–10 Migration Program, in response to the continued economic slowdown, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.
In March, the Government cut the 2008–09 permanent skilled migration intake by 14 per cent from 133 500 to 115 000. This reduction to 108 100 places represents an overall drop of almost 20 per cent on previous planning levels.
‘The Government remains committed to a strong migration program but unemployment in Australia is expected to increase as the economy slows,’ Senator Evans said.
‘The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic climate while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages.
‘The reduction is being achieved through a cutback in places for the general skilled category rather than in the high-demand employer-sponsored category or in areas in which Australia has critical skills shortages.’
In addition to the cutback in places, the Government will be increasing the English language level required for trades-related occupations and introduce a targeted skills-testing regime to ensure that migrants have both the language and skills needed to participate in the labour market.
The Government’s reform measures are aimed at ensuring an appropriate balance between providing skills needed in the economy now (demand-driven employer-sponsored), in the future (independent skilled pathway) and in the regions (government-sponsored pathway).
‘The Government has begun the task of constructing a long-term planning framework for migration as a key component of the current reform agenda,’ Senator Evans said.
The Government will provide more opportunities for family reunions with an increase of 3800 places in the family component of the Migration Program, to 60 300. The increase includes an additional 2500 places for partners, 1000 places for contributory parents and 300 for child visas.
‘We are recognising the importance of family through this boost which will benefit Australians who seek to have their parents, partners or children join them to live here permanently,’ the minister said.
Overall, the Migration Program will total 168 700 for 2009–10, which comprises the 60 300 family places, 108 100 skilled places and a further 300 places for special eligibility.
See: The 2009-10 skilled migration program fact sheet (267K PDF file)
Last update: 11 June 2009 at 09:23 AEST