08 February 2005

UK students and skilled workers drive change in Australian immigration

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Thousands more people who come to Australia temporarily for skilled employment or study are choosing to stay for good, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, said Senator Amanda Vanstone.

Thousands more people who come to Australia temporarily for skilled employment or study are choosing to stay for good, said Australian Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone.

New figures, released last month by Senator Vanstone, show more than 36,000 permanent visas were granted in 2003-04 to people already in Australia on temporary visas.

‘This is more than double the number of eight years ago and represents a profound shift in the way people migrate to Australia,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘Almost a third of places in the 2003-04 Migration Program went to people already in the country.’

Senator Vanstone said students and skilled workers are driving the change.

‘Most are coming from the United Kingdom, the People’s Republic of China and India.’

‘In the case of students, in 2001 the Government changed the rules to allow overseas students in Australia to be able to apply to stay permanently as skilled migrants at the end of their studies,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘In the case of skilled migrants, last financial year over 13,000 permanent skilled migration visas were granted to students in Australia, a 50 per cent increase on 2002-03.’

There was a seven per cent rise in the number of permanent visas granted onshore under the Employer Nomination scheme to workers who entered on temporary programs in 2003-04.

‘The people being granted these visas are typically young and skilled, and now are more often educated in Australia. This is benefit to all Australians,’ Senator Vanstone said.

‘They are usually proficient in English and have established social networks and experience of our labour market and culture, increasing their chances of settling quickly and successfully.


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