10 May 2011

Thousands of new Australian visa places to fill skills shortages

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The release of the Australian Federal Budget today has seen the number of skilled migrant places for the 2011/12 program increased to 185,000, with a new focus on regional Australian visas to fill skills shortages.

Australian immigration

The number of skilled migrant places for the 2011/12 program has increased to 185,000 places.

While the figure of 185,000 Australia visa places for migrants is only a moderate rise on the 2010/11 program (which had 180,000 places), it remains a positive sign of growth after a period where the global financial crisis had weakened the Australian economy and migration places were being cut back.

Commenting on the increase, Treasurer of Australia and Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said there was a need to "attract highly-skilled migrants to live and work in regional Australia".

Of these new migrants, 16,000 will be used to fill skills shortages in regional areas under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen was enthusiastic about the changes, saying "for the first time, the Federal Government will specifically allocate permanent visas for regional areas."

Minister Bowen continued: "The patchwork nature of the Australian labour market means it's important to recognise unique local circumstances and tailor migration solutions accordingly."

The announcement comes after the government was warned that a huge skills shortage could be on the horizon due to Australia's resources boom, with a report by Skills Australia estimating that 2.4 million more skilled workers will be needed within the next four years.

Other Australian immigration reforms will see the Australian government focus on developing a new model for selecting skilled migrants, which is set to be put into effect on July 1, 2012.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their application with the Australian High Commission

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