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Skilled migrants still a priority in visa processing

posted May 14, 2014, 3:30 PM by Bernie Albano

Skilled migrants with job offers will take top priority in the next financial year's immigration programme.

The Skilled Stream will continue to be the focus of Australia's immigration policy with almost 70 per cent of the visas allocated to address Australia's skills needs, including addressing skills shortages in regional Australia.

The 2014-15 migration program provides a total of 190 000 places including 128 550 for skilled migration, 60 885 places for family migration and 565 places for migration under the special eligibility stream.

'This Budget allocates almost 68 per cent of Australia's migration places to skilled migration, and reprioritises employer-sponsored visas,' said Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison.

'With the reprioritisation towards employer-sponsored visas, employers will be assisted in finding workers to fill vital positions where they have been unable to find local workers. This also protects Australian workers, who will have less direct competition from independent migrants who arrive without a guaranteed job.

'The family stream will see more places being allocated for partners and children which together increase by 335 places, in recognition of the strong social and economic benefits of close family reunion, while the number of places in the contributory parent category has also been increased by 500 places.

'The additional 4 000 places in the family stream which the previous government allocated to illegal maritime arrivals have been removed, resulting in a saving of around $267 million.

'This change will provide yet another disincentive for people considering the dangerous boat journey to Australia.

'Changes to the skilled and family stream intakes will provide approximately $35 million in savings,' Minister Morrison said.

In summary

  • The 2014 15 Migration Programme will have 190,000 places and maintain the composition of 128,550 Skilled Stream places, 60,885 Family Stream places and 565 Special Eligibility Stream places.
  • The Family Stream will refocus on meeting the increasing demand for close family reunions. The additional partner and child places will be made available as a result of the cessation of new applications from the other family and parent (non contributory) places. This cessation will also enable faster processing of existing applications.
  • The Government will provide $1.3 million over four years to extend the streamlined visa processing arrangements currently available to students enrolled in bachelor, masters or doctoral degrees at participating universities to students enrolled in Advanced Diploma level Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses at eligible TAFEs and other education providers.        
  • The Government will reverse the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2012 13 measure titled Response to the expert panel — Permanent migration programme — additional family stream places and remove 4,000 places allocated to Illegal Maritime Arrivals in the Family Stream (not previously accounted for in total programme numbers).
  • The Government will achieve savings of $305.2 million (including a reduction in revenue of $112.9 million) over five years, by modifying the size and composition of the 2014 15 Migration Programme.

source: Migration Alliance

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