10 October 2008

Rudd: global economy may cut Australia's migration quota

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said the annual quota for Australian migration may have to be revised in response to the global economic slowdown, reports The Australian.

The annual migration quota is revised in the lead-up to the May budget, and Mr Rudd has told reporters next year the number of people granted a visa for Australia may have to be cut to counterbalance a slowing global economy.

After the official figures for Australian employment were released this week, showing the jobless rate was up last month to 4.3 per cent and unemployment had risen by 21,700, the Prime Minister said next year’s economic climate will be the deciding factor for the government’s migration policy. 

This year, an extra 31,000 people were allowed to move to Australia under the skilled migration program, taking the 2008-09 general migration quota to 190,300 and the skilled migration quota to 133,500.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Greg Evans said the only reason Australia should be changing its immigration policy is if unemployment should rise and the economy should slow, but that these factors can only be assessed next year. 

The forecast for Australia’s unemployment rate is sitting at 4.8 per cent for next year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the Australian government has predicted a similar rate at 4.75 per cent by June 2009.

The Minister for Employment Julia Gillard has said, although the figures for Australian unemployment are predicted to rise, the results are still pleasing.  "In the context of the global difficulties Australia is facing, these are welcome figures."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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