30 December 2008

Australian businesses calling for no migration cuts

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans has been urged by an influential business group to not cut the annual skilled migration quota.

The Australian immigration quota reached record levels during the 2008-09 financial year, with 31,000 extra taking the quota up to total 190,300 visas for Australia, and including 133,500 skilled visa migrants. 

However, according to ABC News, Senator Evans has requested advice from a number of sources regarding a cutback to the Australian immigration programme in light of the global financial crisis.

Suggestions that a rise in unemployment could affect Australians and Australian migrants have caused concern and are forming a major part of the immigration discussions held by the Senator.

Yet the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Peter Anderson said the government needs foresight when considering the future of the Australian immigration programme, particularly in terms of its effects on the long-term progress of the Australian economy.

"Skilled migrants add value to the Australian economy," he said.

"Even though we are going through a slower period of economic growth it's likely we're not going to be able to make any major changes to our migration program without adversely affecting our economic activity."

According to The Australian, Senator Evans has put fears at rest that the global financial crisis would cause a drastic reduction in Australia's skilled migration quota.

Senator Evans has reassured the lobbying business groups that his government would not overreact to the global recession.

"[Immigration] is a global market, so your reputation and your brand is quite important," Senator Evans told reporters.

"So certainly a lot of the advice is: don't ruin the brand by knee-jerk reactions, because we're going to be wanting to recruit in these areas, if not this year, then the year after."

In Futurebrand's Country Brand Index (CBI) 2008, Australia ranked number one in the world for the place people would most like to live in outside of their home country. 

The CBI surveys 2700 international business and leisure travellers about 30 different categories, including standard of living, art and culture, food, value for money, accommodation, shopping, political freedom and activities. 

The results of the poll show that besides their home country, most people would like to move to Australia than any other place in the world. 

The author of the study said of Australia, "Friendly people, nice weather, natural beauty, and a stable government make Australia the place where people most want to live."

Australia also won the coveted award for best-branded country in the world, and the country business travellers are most likely to extend their business trip for holidaying purposes than in any other country, followed by New Zealand.  Participants also voted Australia the best country for outdoor activities and sports, also followed by New Zealand.

"Australia is a leading business destination that also offers a wide variety of great leisure attractions for professional business travellers…  In Australia, you can climb the Harbour Bridge, explore the Australian wilderness, surf Bells Beach, ski Mount Kosciuszko, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef… and more."

Voters put Australia third in the world for the place they would most like to visit or revisit and fourth in the world for choices of resorts and lodgings.

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

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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