Australian immigration, visas, as well as the Australian Skilled Migrant programme were discussed at a the recent Ministerial Council on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs meeting.
17 August 2009
Australia migration, skilled visas discussed by council
The Ministerial Council on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs met in Canberra recently, to discuss items like immigration to Australia.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Settlement and Multicultural Affairs, the New Zealand Minister of Immigration, the New Zealand Minister for Ethnic Affairs and the Australian Local Government Association attended the meeting as observers.
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was that Australian immigration, properly planned and managed, makes a significant contribution to the long-term future of Australia. The council reaffirmed its commitment to share information, discuss issues, develop options and consider proposals regarding the national migration program, through renewing the terms of reference for the Commonwealth-State Working Party on Australia Skilled Migration.
Temporary migration continues to be crucial in assisting to meet skill shortages. However, the council noted the global economic crisis had affected the volume of Australia temporary skilled work visas. The council was briefed on recent reforms to the temporary skilled work visa program to make the program more responsive to market needs, while protecting the employment and training opportunities of Australians and the rights of overseas workers. The council also noted a briefing on the current immigration situation in New Zealand.
The council noted a majority of jurisdictions have taken up the Australian Government's offer to participate in a health waiver scheme for four onshore Australian skilled visa subclasses. This will enable waiving of the health requirement in cases where there is a public interest for an applicant to gain permanent residency in Australia.
The council also discusses multicultral affairs and settlement services and reaffirmed its commitment to activities to address racial intolerance and deliver a whole-of-government cultural diversity agenda.
The council also noted the responses of the Australian Government and the states and territories to deal with recent violence against international students and the effect of the situation in Sri Lanka on the community.
The council considered the report of the Working Party on Settlement Issues and suggestions to improve the successful integration of permanent and temporary entrants into Australian society, including translating and interpreting services. A range of priorities were noted by the council and governments agreed to continue to work cooperatively together on collating further evidence to inform future work on priority areas.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australia visa applications.