07 July 2008

Queensland government 'not offering enough state-sponsored programmes'

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The Queensland government has been accused of not encouraging enough Australian visa holders to the state. The Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Senator Chris Evans, has said more state-sponsored programmes should be offered to meet skills shortages in the country, reports the Queensland Business Review.

Figures from the department show currently state and territory-sponsored immigration stands at less than ten per cent of the total programme, amounting to 7,500 of all skilled migrants. This compares to employer-backed schemes which account for 20 per cent of the total programme.

Senator Evans told the newspaper there is "capacity within the Federal Government’s permanent skilled migration program for states and territories to sponsor overseas skilled workers in occupations in demand". Queensland is third in the state list, behind Victoria and South Australia, having approved 3,084 skilled Australia visa holders in 2006-07.

"I will be encouraging the states and territories to increase their use of state-sponsored migration to better link skilled workers to the economic needs in their jurisdictions," he added. It was also recently reported that the engineering industry needs more Australian visa holders, in order to grow effectively.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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