14 April 2005

Australia adds to Migration Occupations in Demand List

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The Australian Government has announced significant changes to its immigration strategy by adding 20,000 places to the Skill Stream of the country’s 2005-2006 Migration Program and additions to its Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).

The new skills on the MODL list include bricklayers, cabinetmakers, carpenters and joiners, child care co-ordinators, civil engineers, cooks, dentists, special and general class electricians, electronic equipment trades people, fibrous and solid plasterers, general electrical instrument trades people, nuclear medicine technologists, plumbers, podiatrists and speech pathologists. All of these occupations, plus those already on the MODL, receive an extra 15 points and priority processing through Australia’s points-style immigration program.

An extra 10 points will also now be allocated for State/Region sponsorship under the Skilled Independent Regional (SIR) visa to address the demands for more skilled migrants by many States and Regions.

‘Both the additions to the MODL and point increase will have a significant impact on the number of British workers who now qualify to emigrate to Australia. The additions to the MODL mean the Australian economy is ready to absorb skilled workers from the occupational categories listed,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau.

‘The changes reflect the Government's strongly held view regarding the benefits of well managed immigration arrangements,’ said the Minister for the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), Senator Amanda Vanstone.

‘A primary aim will be to increase the number of skilled migrants entering under the employer sponsored categories, as it is employers who are best placed to identify the skilled migrants we need,’ said the Minister.

'Australia’s points-style system of immigration has proven to be extremely successful in filling labour gaps in the economy. Of course now it’s being touted by politicians as a potential model for Britain,’ said Ms Baerveldt.

'The points system is effective but not always straightforward. Anyone who is interested in emigrating to Australia should visit the Australian Visa Bureau web site at http://www.visabureau.co.uk/australia/ and complete the online assessment to see if they meet the basic legislative requirements,’ said Ms Baerveldt.

‘Earlier in the week the Australian Visa Bureau spoke about the potential for redundant MG Rover skilled workers to apply for immigration under Australia’s skilled migration scheme. Clearly, the skills shortage is not confined to the automotive sector; Australia is looking for skilled migrants across the board.’

Senator Vanstone said, ‘As we are competing globally for skilled workers, it is essential that Australian employers have a competitive edge in this area. The increase reflects the continued growth in the Australian Migration Program’s Skill Stream, which has risen from 34,600 in 1997-98 to around 97,500 for 2005-2006.’

Australia has been welcoming British skilled migrants in record numbers over the last decade. In 2003-2004 Australia welcomed upwards of 18,000 UK nationals to its shores.

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