08 March 2005

Australian immigration to increase through skilled visa program

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Following comments made by Prime Minister John Howard last week, the Australian Immigration Minister confirmed Australia’s skills shortage and an increase in the number of skilled visas to be issued by the Australian government.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Senator Amanda Vanstone said in an effort to meet the demand for skilled trades in Australia, the government will use a combination of immigration and training to fill gaps. She noted that immigration would be used as a short-term solution because training takes time. Ultimately she said the government needs a healthy combination of both.

Last week it was reported the number of skilled visas issued by the Australian government could increase by 20,000. Senator Vanstone did not confirm that number, but did indicate increases would likely come from state-sponsored migration. Vanstone said she is intends to keep working with industry and states to provide an immigration system that is as responsive as possible.

“Having said that, it’s a good thing if we understand that we’re in competition for skilled labour,” said Vanstone. Countries such as the United States and Canada continue to attract a good proportion of skilled labour through their own skilled visa programs the Minister said.


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