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More skilled workers for States and Territories

A new scheme aimed at meeting skill shortages in areas outside the major cities has been launched today by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock.

Under the scheme, to take effect from 1 November 1997, State and Territory Governments will be able to sponsor up to 200 skilled migrants and their families in the Independent skilled category in 1997-98.

"Independent migrants have a highly positive impact on the economy. They are young and skilled with good English language ability and tend to create more jobs than they take," Mr Ruddock said.

"The new State/Territory Nominated Independent (STNI) scheme will give a greater opportunity to encourage skilled migrants to settle in their State or Territory."

"The STNI scheme, together with the Federal Government's other regional migration initiatives, will allow them to target prospective independent migrants who have specific skills that are in relative short supply in the local workforce."

As part of the scheme, State and Territory governments will carry out an audit to establish what skills are in short supply and where.

The scheme will also allow them to better plan and implement their economic and social development strategies, including services for migrants.

"The South Australian Government has already made a commitment to the STNI scheme for 1997-98. Other State and Territory Governments may take up the scheme at a later stage," Mr Ruddock said.

"At present, most new migrants settle in Australia's major population centres such as Sydney which receives more than 40 per cent of the migrant intake."

"This scheme, along with others developed by the Federal Government, aims to encourage a better dispersal of the migration intake and to help areas outside the major capitals obtain the skills they need."

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Steve Ingram, 02 6277 7860;0419 278 715