Skilled migration program 'a success'

Post date: Feb 15, 2013 8:14:37 AM

Australia's skilled migration visas program has been successful, one industry commentator argues, delivering much-needed employment in various sectors.

Michael Easson, chairman of the Ministerial Council on Skilled Migration, wrote in The Australian that government policies have been well suited to tackling the country's changing economic environment.

While he admitted that the temporary 457 visa initiative has been "much maligned", Mr Easson said it has helped fill skills gaps across the nation.

"Western Australia, which has low unemployment and high labour force growth, is the second largest user of the 457 program, which attests to the program's responsiveness to local economic conditions," he stated.

"Employer-sponsored migration is a demand-driven model that places skilled migrants directly in the jobs they need and where locals cannot be found."

Recent statistics from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) show there has been a drop in demand for 457 visas, a downward trend that has been evident since June 2012.

According to the latest monthly DIAC report, there was a four per cent decline in applications for the travel documents between July and November last year, with approvals plummeting 12 per cent during the same period.

The department claimed the fall was due to a reduction in applications from sectors that are traditionally heavy users of the program, such as health care, social assistance and information media and telecommunications.

The chairman said there were 200,000 permanent migrants accepted in 2012-13, with 125,000 of these being skilled, which compared with the 1980s, when the vast majority of those settling in the country were family migrants.

"Skilled migrants fill shortages in the Australian labour market that help our economy grow. They are younger, likelier to be in work and better educated than the average Australian and thus boost participation, productivity and population."

To read more, go to Migration Alliance News, 11 February 2013

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