16 August 2005

Australia seeks 20,000 skilled migrants

The Australian Government has announced plans for a large-scale recruitment program aimed directly at skilled British labour. Not since the ‘Ten Pound Pom’ campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s has the Australian Government recruited British migrants so aggressively.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs will arrive in London in September to hold an expo showcasing Australia’s culture and lifestyle to British workers.

The Government hopes to attract skilled British migrants to the country’s various regional states under recently relaxed regulations. The Government has expanded its migration program to include 20,000 extra spaces; a significant increase over last year’s target.

‘This new recruitment drive is reminiscent of the ‘Ten Pound Pom’ program from years ago,’ said Oonagh Baerveldt, spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau. Of course, flights across are a little more expensive nowadays, but the Government is as serious today as it was in the 1950’s about getting skilled workers to its shores.

‘After about 1945, emigration to Australia soared. Under various assisted migration schemes more than a million British citizens emigrated to Australia,’ said Baerveldt. ‘Here we are in 2005 and once again, we have a supply and demand issue; Britain has the supply, and Australia has the demand.’

‘Australia has a carefully managed migration program,’ said Baerveldt. ‘The system is designed to allow for quick responses; meeting the needs of Australia’s growth industries is paramount. The Government, through consultation with industry leaders, has identified trades people, engineers and doctors as in demand and vital to the growth of the Australian economy.’

The Australian General Skilled Migration program is points based. Points are allocated based on age, language, skill, occupation and experience. Online assessments to determine points and eligibility can be found at the online assessment. Applicants whose skills are deemed to be in high demand are given additional points and their applications fast-tracked.

The Government is actively seeking bricklayers, automotive electricians, carpenters, cabinet makers, accountants, hair dressers, chefs and, pastry chefs, nurses and other skilled trades as listed on its Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).

‘Of course it helps that the weather in Australia in glorious, there are miles of sandy beaches and the cost of living is significantly less than Britain. It’s often not a difficult decision to leave the British weather behind, but there are serious considerations with regard to leaving family and friends,’ said Baerveldt.

‘If you were not able to take advantage of the ‘Ten Pound Pom’ program years ago, this is certainly the next best thing,’ said Baerveldt. ‘To see if you qualify and meet the minimum points requirements, try the free online assessment.

If you don’t meet the points minimum it’s absolutely worth chatting to a registered migration agent or state government representative about your options.’

According to the Office of National Statistics, 191,000 Britons emigrated in 2003. Britain provides the largest percentage of Australia’s skilled migrants every year.

In 2003-2004 Australia welcomed upwards of 18,000 United Kingdom nationals to its shores. The Government is hoping for an increase in those numbers according to its 2005-6 immigration targets.

The Australian Government is also hosting recruitment drives in Amsterdam, Berlin and Chennai during the month of October this year.

 Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration advisory service specialising in visas and immigration for British and Irish nationals looking to live and work in Australia. Based in central London, the company offers a range of services and free online assessments for individuals and families considering a new life abroad. Visit www.visabureau.com/australia for up to date news, information and free online visa assessments.

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