07 July 2009

Leaders lobby for Australian immigration changes

Industry leaders believe there is a great need to increase the number of people emigrating to South Australia or the state will suffer economically.

Emigrate to South Australia

South Australia will see a boom in industry if the numbers of people able to emigrate to South Australia can continue.

Worried industry leaders will lobby the Federal Government to expand its skilled migrant work visa (subclass 457) program, warning that the state will struggle to meet its two million population target and future skills demand without changes to Australian immigration policies.

Last week, the Economic Development Board's chief executive Brian Cunningham said South Australia was on track to reach a population of two million by 2027 – 13 years ahead of the target outlined in the State Strategic Plan.

But Migration Solutions managing director Mark Glazbrook says the target is overly ambitious without changes to the skilled migrant work visa (subclass 457) regulations. Mr Glazbrook has formed a skilled migrant work visa (subclass 457) reform committee of industry leaders concerned about skills shortages.

Australian Hotels Association SA president Ian Horne, who will join the committee, said he believed the immigration policy needed to be looked at and debated.

"The reality is . . . that if industry can't meet the skills need, the industry suffers and the economy suffers," he said.

"At the end of the day all industries, whether it is mining or IT or academia, would all like to be able to access the pool of qualified people that is out there."

Mr Glazbrook also warned that South Australia's regional status – which provides incentives for migrants moving to the state – is under threat.

"There is a big push for a lot of the regional incentives we have here to be abolished, and if that is the case it is further going to hinder our chances of getting people to come to the state," he said.

Mr Glazbrook said recent cuts to the overall migration program and a 60 per cent decrease in work visa (subclass 457) grants would make achieving a population of two million by 2050 an arduous task.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said there were no plans to change Adelaide's regional status under the work visa (subclass 457) scheme.

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

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