Record Skilled Migration Program announced for 2008-2009

By Claire Zee, Acacia Immigration Australia Pty Ltd, 19 May 2008

The Rudd Government has moved to ease pressure on employers struggling with the skills shortage and increasing inflation by adding an additional 31 000 skilled migrants to the 2008-2009 Migration Program. The increase is further to a special one-off allocation of 6000 extra skilled migration places announced by the Rudd Government in February 2008. The number of Permanent Skilled Migration for 2008-2009 will be 133 500 out of total number of 190 300 in the Migration Program.

Although the specific numbers for the different Skilled Migration categories are not yet known, the Government announced it would maximize the use of Employer-Sponsored Migration to meet the needs of the Australian job market. The program also encourages State-Sponsored Migration and uses the Migration Occupations in Demand List to get the right workers in the right place. On top of that, the government has committed $19.6 million to improve processing and compliance of the Temporary Skilled Migration Program, which includes the 457 visa scheme. This could mean a shorter waiting period for the processing of the 457 visa in the future.

Minister Evans of Immigration and Citizenship said that the Temporary Skilled Migration Program is expected to exceed 100 000 places in each of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. For more information on the outcomes of the Migration Program in 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and the planned outcomes for 2006-2007, please refer to the Migration Program Statistics Table below. Migration Program Statistics (Source: Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2008)
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Category 2004-05 Outcome 2005-06 Outcome 2006-07 Planning Levels Top of Range
Partner 33,060 36,3702 37,300
Child 2,490 2,550 2,500
Preferential/Other Family 1,690 1,870 1,700
Parent 4,500 4,500 4,500
Total Family 41,740 45,290 46,000
Employer Sponsored 13,020 15,230 15,000
Skilled Independent 41,180 49,860 49,200
State/Territory Sponsored 4,140 8,020 10,000
Skilled Australian Sponsored 14,530 19,060 17,700
Distinguished Talent 190 100 200
Business Skills 4,820 5,060 5,400
Total Skill 9835982 23 37,300
Skill as percent of total program 64.9 68.1 67.7
Total Special Eligibility 450 310 500
Programme Planning Range 120,060 142,930 134,000 - 144,000

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