Skilled migrants continue to be accommodated

Post date: Aug 04, 2012 12:12:10 AM

Permanent skilled migration is the "mainstay" of Australia's immigration program, Chris Bowen revealed in a speech made earlier this week.

Addressing the Australian Mines and Metals Association Migration and Labour Sourcing Conference in Brisbane on August 2, the minister for immigration and citizenship made the remarks as he commented on the newly-launched SkillSelect online system, which made its debut at the beginning of the new financial year.

"It is early days in terms of assessing [SkillSelect's] performance. But initial signs are good - we have had over 20,000 expressions of interest in the system after just 30 days of use," Bowen revealed, adding that according to his sources, an estimated 1,700 of these candidates are engineers.

Since July 1, the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has 192 occupations that do not require a sponsoring employer or state. "For migration categories that don't require employer sponsorship, it provides an efficient way of allocating places in the migration program," he said.

As at July 1, the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List (CSOL) simplified the sponsored occupations list and now provides further 450 occupations welcome in Australian skilled migration program. SkillSelect can also support employer sponsored migration avenues - such as the popular 457 visa program - as it can be used to connect employers with talented prospective candidates from all over the globe.

The 457 visa program is designed to provide a responsive solution to skills shortages in the Australian labour market - and is proving particularly useful when it comes to labour demand in the booming mining and construction sectors in Queensland and Western Australia.

The good news is that the program is open to professionals and tradespersons alike. Bowen revealed in the same speech that the number of 457 visas approved for work related to the mining industry has risen by 77 per cent - and a new fast-tracked approvals process for visas related to the resources sector has seen processing times slashed to a record low of 13 days.

With more than 800,000 new jobs created across the nation since 2007, Bowen emphasised that migration programs have an increasingly important role to play when it comes to boosting business confidence and investments. "A government that cares about promoting job creation and economic growth must ensure that skilled migration is calibrated to fill those skills gaps that simply cannot be filled locally," Bowen concluded.

Source: Migration Alliance, Department of Immigration and Citizenship