18 July 2008
Federal Immigration Minister approves state migration plan
Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans announced the national migration plan needs a policy change and should be replaced with a scheme that meets the needs of local industries.
The Minister told ABC Radio states and territories should have the power to create their own list of occupations in need of overseas workers, because they are more in touch with local shortfalls in the workplace.
"Having, if you like, a state migration plan will get much better results in terms of targeting the skills we need," he said.
Currently, the Federal Government decides the list of skills needed in the Australian workforce. The list, known as the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), is part of the Australian points immigration system. People wishing to migrate to Australia under the General Skilled Migration Program must nominate an occupation from the SOL in order to qualify for skilled migration.
The current program works well to meet the needs of key industries nationwide, but members of parliament feel a more flexible and localised scheme will allow specific industries to benefit from outsourcing employees. Industries in most need of overseas workers at the moment include construction, mining, horticulture, nursing, and engineering.
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Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.