03 December 2008

Australian economy healthy despite global meltdown

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The Australian economy is remaining in a better position than its northern hemisphere counterparts, reports The Age, showing signs that it would continue to remain healthy despite an inevitable slowing down during the global economic crisis.

According to the newspaper, the Australian economy has managed to scrape through with considerably less financial loss while Britain and the US in particular are heavily feeling the fiscal effects of the recession.  Further, house prices in Australia – despite dropping slightly – have not collapsed under the pressure of the crisis.  More importantly, Australia's biggest export revenue – minerals resources – continues to be in strong demand from its biggest buyer China, despite their own economy showing signs of recession.  Moreover, even after the cash rate cut of 1 per cent yesterday, there is apparently more room for stimulus.

According to the Associated Press, rich countries are obligated to keep their doors open to immigration during times of economic crisis.  The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that wealthy countries would need to continue their recruitment of foreign workers – both highly and lower skilled - to maintain a healthy level of production in their workforces. 

The Geneva-based organisation produced the Fourth World Migration Report, which firmly states wealthy governments should maintain high levels of immigration, especially during times of economic slowdowns. 

"There's always jobs that the host population don't want to do," said IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya.

This year, Australia's immigration levels reached record levels.  After concerns that the annual quota for Australian immigration would be cut in response to the global crisis, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans said no decision would be made until the economic data for next year's 2009-10 Budget has been compiled. 

"I'd envisage certainly that the migration program for next year would be smaller than this year," Senator Evans told a Senate hearing in October.  "(But) no decision has been taken on that."

This year, the Rudd government increased the migration quota by 31,000 to reach a record 190,300 visas for Australia, and comprised 133,500 skilled visa migrants. 

Senator Evans also suggested a slowdown of the economy would reduce the numbers of temporary workers in Australia, particularly those in the 457 temporary visa program, as the demand in the economy will reduce.  He added, economic pressures in the household would reduce travel opportunities, which will also affect the numbers of people applying for an Australian working holiday visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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