27 October 2010

Australian migration program continues to target skilled migrants

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Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, has announced the latest statistics on the Australian migration program saying that it is still delivering the skills Australia needs for a healthy economy.

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Nursing is one of the top three occupations targeted by the Australian immigration program.

Mr Bowen said the Government's targeted approach to overseas workers was helping to fill critical skills in healthcare and nursing jobs, engineering, financial services and IT jobs gaps.

The Report on Migration Program 2009-10 showed that more than 60 per cent of the skill stream outcome comprised applicants under the targeted categories, including those who were sponsored  for their Australian Visa  by either an employer or state/territory government – a 12 per cent increase on the previous program year.

The total outcome for the 2009-10 migration program was 168,623 places (0.05 per cent below the planning level). The 2009-10 skill stream outcome of 107,868 places accounted for 64 per cent of the total Australian immigration program.

The skilled program planning level was reduced in the 2009-10 Budget to 108,100 in response to the continued economic slowdown through most of 2009 but despite this, the proportion of overseas workers who were sponsored by employers continued to rise, comprising 38 per cent of the 2009-10 skill stream, compared to 33 per cent in 2008-09 and 22 per cent in the 2007-08 program year.
“This outcome is consistent with the government's focus on high-demand, employer-sponsored professionals in areas where Australia has critical skill shortages,” Mr Bowen said.

“The program met the government's objective of sharpening the focus on skilled migration and targeting the needs of Australian industries and employers.”

The migration program showed that across all permanent skilled visa categories, the top three occupations were accountants (6734), computing professionals (5370) and registered nurses (3960) while the top three countries of citizenship for these categories were the United Kingdom (18,487), India (18 042) and China (14,505).

The government announced in the 2010-11 Budget that the overall level of skilled migration would increase by 5750 places to further address Australia's needs as the economic climate improves.

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