13 May 2011

Australian skilled migration planning levels for 2011/12 announced

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The Australian Migration Program planning levels for 2011/12 have been officially announced as part of Australia's annual Federal budget announcement, with the total number of places for migrants to Australia raised to 185,000 from 2010/11's total of 168,700.

Australian immigration

A new focus has been put on regional Australian immigration initiatives.

The skilled migration stream saw an increase of 10.5%, with the most gains made for the Skilled - Independent Australia visa pathway, which went from 34,200 places to 44,350 places.

The Employer Sponsored visa pathway also saw an increase of 1,850 places with a greater emphasis put on the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), which went from having 10,160 places in 2010/11 to 16,000 places for 2011/12.

While the focus on regional Australian immigration for skilled workers has been welcomed, there are some aspects which remain uncertain. For example, one major point that has yet to be clarified is the introduction of 'Regional Migration Agreements'.

The CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia, Maurene Horder, had the following comments to make:

"While details of these programs are yet unknown, these are good and sensible changes to encourage skilled migration to regional areas where it is needed most.

"The announcement that there will be new procedures for selecting skilled migrants will bring about major changes in the way people apply for visas. The Institute calls for considerable consultation with all stakeholders regarding how this will done, and sufficient notice of the implementation of this new selection method

"The MIA knows from experience that when the Government fails to consult all stakeholders – particularly the migration advice profession that deals most closely with visa applicants – there is a danger of unfortunate, unforeseen consequences occurring. It is imperative that the full details and clarification of all these changes are made known as soon as possible so that potential visa applicants and their advisors can properly make significant decisions for their futures."

For a more detailed understanding of how the Australian migration program for 2011/12 has changed from 2010/11, more information is available on the Visa Bureau blog

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application with Australia House London

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