20 February 2009

Australian govt may reduce record migration quota

Australia is considering cutting its record migrant intake in response to predictions of sharply rising unemployment rates.

The Senate approved a second stimulus package this week that focuses on job protection, cash injection and investment across the economy, including material, retail and home building giants who are considering downsizing.  Along with another injection into the wallets of Australians, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced an even lower interest rate, and the Government has committed itself to creating 90,000 jobs in Australia and protecting 112,500 jobs.

According to Bloomberg, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said they are optimistic that the package - combined with lower interest rates - is a "powerful" booster to the Australian economy and would keep it from recession.

Yet demographic experts have warned the government that the record numbers of people emigrating to Australia would offset any attempts at clinching the rising unemployment rate, which has been predicted to increase by 300,000 by 2010.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Monash University demographer Bob Birrell said in his paper People And Place that the Government needs to seriously reconsider the effects of migration on the unemployment situation.

"If the migration program is not cut sharply, the growth in migrant job seekers will exceed the number of jobs the plan proposes to protect," Professor Birrell said.

Senator Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, has not commented on the warning, except to say earlier in the year that the 133,000 Australian skilled visas would remain a ceiling until the release of the 2009-10 Budget.  However, a spokesperson for his department said that the Australian government is recruiting overseas workers in white-collar trades such as health care, and they expect the skilled migration program would not completely meet the needs of the Australian economy this year.

The current General Skilled Migration program is prioritising those that prospective Australian migrants that have jobs already organised in Australia. 

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

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