11 July 2003

New visa to bring professionals from overseas to Australia

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Australian education and training providers will benefit from a new visa category enabling organisations to bring professionals to Australia for tailored training programs.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock, launched the new Sponsored Professional Development Visa in Hobart today.

'The new visa allows education and training providers to provide academic and practical training for professionals, managers and government officials from overseas,' said Mr Ruddock.

'Those participating will enhance their professional and managerial skills by taking part in programs that have been specifically designed to meet their needs.

'The Australian education industry and businesses will now be in a position to capture a portion of a growing niche market for specialised training, particularly from China in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics,' Mr Ruddock said.

A number of safety measures have been established to ensure the integrity of the visa system.

'Sponsoring organisations will be required to agree to specific undertakings accepting obligations relating to their conduct and the conduct of those entering Australia for the training programs,' Mr Ruddock said.

The sponsored professional development visa was announced in the May 2003 Federal Budget and was introduced on 1 July this year.

All processing for sponsorship and visa approvals will occur at a new Professional Development Visa Processing Centre within the Hobart office of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA).

'The establishment of the International Visa Processing Centre in Hobart reflects the Federal Government's continued commitment to the economic viability of regional Australia,' Mr Ruddock said.

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