10 May 2007

Visa placements boost for Australian immigration

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Australian immigration officials recently announced that the planned quota for the 2007-08 Skilled Migration stream would be boosted by 5,000, resulting in a total of 102,500 places now on offer for skilled workers looking to gain employment in Australia.

This positive news comes as a result of the Australian Government’s budget commitment to provide additional funding of $359 million to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, which has also resulted in the family migration stream being maintained at the 2006-07 level of 50,000 places.

This news cements Australia’s commitment to maintaining their first class skilled migration system, with a booming economy and unemployment levels at a 30 year low making the importation of skilled foreign workers such a necessity to the country’s continued success.

The budget windfall will also see $85.3 million committed to maintaining the integrity of Australia’s temporary skilled migration programme – the controversial 457 visas. As reported previously by the Australian Visa Bureau there has been a new dedication to restructuring the 457 visa system, with reports now showing that the Migration Act will be amended to better punish employers breaching their sponsorship obligations.

These amendments to the temporary skilled migration programme come after it was recently challenged by the opposition Labor party’s immigration spokesman, Tony Burke, who revealed his own plans to revamp the scheme should Labor come into power following next year’s general election.

However, this subsequent budget report addresses many of the issues that Mr Burke and other sceptics had raised regarding the system for sponsoring overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary basis.

Responding to these allegations of regulatory incompetence, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews was resolute in his commitment to the new amendments and their potential to resolve these challenges, with new civil penalties due to be set in place to punish fraudulent employers of migrant workers, while companies who have an exemplary track record of working with the legislation would be rewarded accordingly.

The overall message of the budget clearly reveals Australia’s serious intents towards immigration, recognising both the need to ensure that the necessary quality skilled workers - as found on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) - are brought in to fill the employment gaps, as well as ensure they receive the fair treatment and benefits they deserve upon making the move.

Those interested in finding out whether they would qualify to take advantage of all the benefits that working in Australia would offer should complete an online assessment.

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