18 February 2009

DIAC's report shows growth in Australian skilled migration

The 2007-08 Migration Report released by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) shows that Australia's migration programme is well on track to reach its targets and fill critical skills gaps in the job market, and that the UK continues to be the major source of Australia's migrants.

The report shows that at the end of last year's financial year, migration was 0.1 per cent below its planned levels, meaning Australian immigration officials gave 158,630 people permission to move to Australia.

The United Kingdom, India and China provided the largest sources of people emigrating to Australia (New Zealand citizens are excluded from statistics in the migration programme).  UK residents accounted for 17.7 per cent of the migration programme (which is down on the year before from 31,401).  From India and China came 22,148 and 20,729 nationals respectively, with India taking over China as the second largest source country. 

During the 2007-08 year, 108,540 people entered Australia through the General Skilled Migration programme, 49,870 people used the Family Stream, and 220 foreign nationals were granted Australian visas under the Special Eligibility Stream.  Although the Special Eligibility Stream was 26.7 per cent below the level planned by DIAC, the General Skilled Migration programme had reached the desired level and the Family Stream was only slightly below.

More importantly, DIAC noted a significant increase in the number of people with a job on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) when compared with last year (a rise of nearly three per cent).  As the MODL lists those jobs that are desperate for skilled workers, these figures show that the migration programme is improving its success in plugging necessary gaps in the market.

DIAC continued to put priority on those applications that are nominated by employers, nominated by State/Territory governments, and have an occupation on the MODL. 

Under the General Skilled Migration programme, DIAC granted 55,891 foreign nationals Skilled Independent visas, 14,579 Skilled Australian Sponsored visas and 7,530 State/Territory Sponsored Migration (STNI) visas.  DIAC noticed an increased demand for the Skilled Independent and SAS categories, while the STNI category dropped by around 15 per cent.  Another 130,433 applications were still being considered for skilled migration after the 30 June 2008. 

The Employer Sponsorship programme grew significantly during the year; nearly 5,000 more applicants in 2007-08 meant there was a 43.2 per cent increase under this category.  DIAC said it has recognised the increasing demand for employer-sponsored visas and has increased the 2008-09 annual quota to 28,000 places.

Demand in the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) also grew significantly; the ENS increased by 53.9 per cent to 15,482 Australian visas, and the RSMS grew by 33.7 per cent to reach 5,062. 

DIAC have not yet released the details of the 2009-10 Budget, but it is expected that the target of 133,000 skilled visas would remain over the next financial year, meaning that thousands of UK residents would still be able to move to Australia and benefit from its more stable economy during the European recession.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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