04 September 2009

Plans for a future-focused Australian immigration process

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Australia is preparing a 50-year migration plan focusing on attracting skilled immigrants and intakes that consider future critical issues such as climate change, water preservation and national security.

Australia skilled migration visa

Plans are being made for a 50-year Australia skilled migration program.

The Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Andrew Metcalfe, said yesterday the department was conducting a review of needs for immigration to Australia to ensure a more holistic, visionary approach.

Mr Metcalfe said the review will include an evaluation of the points-based system used to select skilled workers eligible to emigrate to Australia, known as the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).

"The MODL is not as flexible as we would like to address a rapidly changing and uncertain global environment. In my view, one of themes of this century will be the increased mobility of people around the globe, and we need to manage this adroitly."

"In terms of the future, we are trying to lift ourselves away from year-to-year decisions to a 50-year vision," he said at the Australian and New Zealand School of Government conference in Canberra.

"We are trying to move away from an immigration department that is responsive to one that can help the government achieve long-term objectives ...  A long-term planning framework ... is something whose time has come."

Mr Metcalfe said a well-planned Australian skilled migration program would boost the country's long-term economic, demographic and environmental goals.

"We want to ensure our skilled migration programs are responding to longer-term skill needs which cannot be addressed through domestic training and skills development," he said.

"The question then is how we can best address shorter-term labour market requirements ... It will be important that the skilled migrants we choose are not only young and healthy but also have a high level of education, language proficiency and other skills. This will ensure that skilled migration contributes both to labour force growth and to the productivity of our labour force."

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