14 May 2009

Australian skilled migration changes explained in north Western Australia

The changes to the Australian skilled migration program implemented in January of this year and the further changes announced for the 2009-10 Budget are to be explained in person to employers and Australian visa holders in the Pilbara, north Western Australia.

In January of this year, Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans announced the Australian skilled migration program would be reduced and more targeted to attract the skills essential to the recovery and stabilisation of the economy.  The changes involved giving employers and State/Territorial governments more freedom to sponsor foreign overseas workers to emigrate to Australia, and giving priority to those non-sponsored applicants with skills listed on the Critical Skills List (CSL), which focuses on health, IT and engineering professionals.

Similarly, in April, the Government announced changes to the temporary business visa (subclass 457), which included an increased level of English language proficiency and changes to the minimum salary level.

In this week's 2009-10 Budget release, Senator Evans announced further cuts to the Australian skilled migration program, making the total for the 2009-10 planning levels 108,000 places.  The employer-sponsored visa and government-sponsored visa programs will remain uncapped, and the CSL will remain as a guideline for prioritising independent applications for Australian skilled migration.

An outreach officer from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will set up information seminars so that people in the Pilbara region have access to first-hand information and advice regarding this year's changes to the Australian skilled migration program and the 457 visa program.

"DIAC places great importance on providing services to regional areas and regular outreach visits are a large part of that," a DIAC spokesman said.

"While the department has a great deal of information available over the phone or on the Internet, some people prefer to speak to officers face-to-face, and these visits are about meeting that need."

The first information session will be held from 12.30-2.30pm May 25 at Welcome Lotteries House, Morse Court, Karratha, for employers, stakeholders and government agencies, and will be followed by an information session for subclass 457 holders from 5-7pm.  Australian citizenship and family migration matters will also be addressed at this seminar.

The All Seasons Hotel at McGregor Street in Port Hedland will hold a similar session on May 27. 

Pre-booked appointments are also available for those wishing to have individual consultations, and will be held at the Pilbara Development Commission on Welcome Road, Karratha, on May 26 from 9.30am-5pm and at the commission’s Port Hedland office on Wedge Street on May 29 between 9.30am and 4pm.

If you are unsure whether the Australian skilled migration changes may affect your chances of emigrating to Australia, take our free online assessment or have an Australian Visa Bureau consultant call you to help you with emigrating to Australia.

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

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