The following is the text of the Minister’s announcement for the budget of changes to the skilled migration program.
It should be read with her announcement on Monday of the points and technical changes foreshadowed to the skilled migration program arising out of the evaluation program
I’ll put that in a separate post. Strangely, the release is dated 1 May but must have been embargoed until Budget Night, which is why it only turned up this morning.
Government Successfully Matching Skilled Workers to Employers
As issued by Minister on Monday 1 May 2006
On the back of a record jump in migration of 20 000 extra places in the Skill Stream this programme year, the Howard Government will maintain the Skill Stream at that increased level through 2006-07.
Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Amanda Vanstone, said with the 2005-06 programme still to be completed, it was impossible to accurately identify the impact of last year’s 20 000 increase for this financial year.
Consequently, it would be imprudent to have a further jump in the Skill Stream until we are sure of the impact of the additional 20 000 places’s Senator Vanstone said.
This year we have worked extremely hard to increase the proportion of skilled migrants sponsored by employers or States and regions.
We have done this by matching skilled migrants with employers through a number of avenues including skills expos, both onshore and offshore; the availability of Regional Outreach Officers; and for the first time this year Industry Outreach Officers, who we have seconded to key industry groups, to support employers.
Employer sponsored migration is up 22 per cent from the same period (July-March) in the previous programme year putting it at record levels in 2005-06. In the nine months to the end of March some 12 000 employer sponsored visas were granted.
Growth in state sponsored and regional migration (SSRM) visas is up 50 per cent over the same period.
As well the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) has proven a vital tool. The number of the Skill Stream intake with occupations on the MODL, including their families, will increase four-fold to almost 40 000 people in 2005-06 compared to approximately 10 000 in 2004-05.
The figures demonstrate that we are matching skilled migrants to areas of need to a greater extent than ever before, Senator Vanstone said.
This is why these migrants are performing exceptionally well in the labour market. We intend to further refine that matching in the upcoming financial year.
The Migration Programme concentrates on the skills that business and industry are looking for but will also meet legitimate close family reunion needs.
“There will be a modest increase in the size of the Family Stream, up 1000 extra places to 46 000. The 1000 extra places will be available for spouse visas. This is on top of an extra 3000 places added to the planning levels for this year, with a total of 37 300 spouse visas in 2006-07.
The increased demand for spouse visas is driven by two main factors â€œ the increasing global mobility of young Australians and the larger sponsorship base created by the increased skilled migration intake.
Recent research shows that spouse migrants (many of whom are young and skilled) are also performing well in the labour market with high employment and participation rates. This is a good news story.
The total migration (non-humanitarian) programme for 2006-07 in the range of 134 000 to 144 000 places. This will comprise 97 500 places in the Skill Stream and 46 000 places in the Family Stream.
To ensure our Migration Programme remains world class the Government commissioned an evaluation of the general skilled migration visa category by some prominent Australian academics, Senator Vanstone said.
The evaluation report will be released shortly and the Government will consult with industry and other stakeholders on the recommendations.