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Australian Government cuts migration program to protect local jobs

Migration to AustraliaNot the best news for wannabe migrants I’m afraid. In a bid to protect Australian jobs, the Federal Government is cutting the intake of skilled migrant workers – removing virtually all the trades from the program.

In a sign of the times, the permanent skilled migration program is being slashed by 18,000 over the next three months, with no foreign bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters or electricians allowed in for the foreseeable future.

And the migrant worker program is likely to be cut back further in the May budget.

From the press release issued by The Aussie Ministry for Immigration and Citizenship:

The changes to the program are:

* A 14 per cent cut in the 2008-09 permanent skilled migration program intake from 133 500 to 115 000.
* Removing building and manufacturing trades from the Critical Skills List, such as bricklayers, plumbers, welders, carpenters and metal fitters. The list will now comprise mainly health and medical, engineering and IT professions.

These changes follow measures announced in December that resulted in only those migrants sponsored by an employer or in an occupation on the Critical Skills List being granted visas under the permanent skilled migration program.

Almost half of the permanent visas granted are to applicants already living and working in Australia.

The Critical Skills List will remain under constant review and the Government will remove occupations from the list if demand for those skills can be satisfied by local labour.

The overwhelming message from business and industry is that Australia still needs to maintain a skilled migration program but one that is more targeted so that migrant workers are meeting skills shortages and not competing with locals for jobs.

RELATED:   Three New Point Tested Skilled Migration Visa From July

There are still skills shortages in some sectors, such as healthcare, and these measures will enable industry to continue to source the skilled professionals they need while protecting local jobs and the wages and conditions of Australian workers.

What this means for those migrants who have already applied I’m not to sure but the short term outlook isn’t that great!

As always, when we have more news we’ll report it here at

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Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts! 

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Critical Skills List refinement affecting British emigration to Australia