14 May 2008

Australian government pledges £20m to migrant integration schemes

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The Australian government has pledged an extra $50 million (£19.8 million) over the next four years to help migrants in the country. Holders of an Australian visa will be helped by the funding, which aims to encourage integration into the country's society.

Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said that the new 2008-09 budget allows $40 million for an employment pathways program and $9.2 million for traineeships in English and work readiness. Mr Evans said they will help people who have taken part in Australian immigration to experience "Australian workplace culture".

Mr Evans continued: "Both programs funded over four years are designed to help migrants pursue an ongoing pathway to successful employment opportunities," he added. "Ensuring migrants are equipped for the workforce is an important economic objective in an environment of labour shortages which are adding to inflationary pressures."

Laurie Ferguson, the Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, has previously said that social cohesion is essential for the success of the Australian immigration programme. He said the new schemes showed the government was providing "support for migrants to join the workforce and increase participation in mainstream society".

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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