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Migration Program continues to deliver economic benefits.
Migration Program Continues to Deliver Economic Benefits MPS 045/2001
The 2001-02 Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program will be even more strongly targeted to meeting Australia's skills needs, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Mr Philip Ruddock, announced today.
The 2001-02 Program will have 85,000 places, including 37,900 places in the Family Stream and 45,500 places in the Skill Stream. The Skill Stream will comprise at least 54 per cent of the total.
Announcing the new Program, Mr Ruddock said that major reforms over the past five years had begun to deliver clear economic and budgetary benefits.
"Because the Program uses rigorous selection criteria and is highly targeted to Australia's labour market needs, it can now be used to help achieve major productivity improvements and enable stronger economic growth in both the short and long-term," Mr Ruddock said.
The Minister said the links that the Government had made between the overseas students program and the skilled migration program had enabled Australia to attract more young, English speaking, skilled migrants who were trained to Australian standards.
"The changes announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year, enabling highly qualified overseas students to apply to migrate without leaving Australia, will help to generate additional demand from this group without any dilution of selection standards."
Mr Ruddock said the Skill Stream contingency reserve would be expanded to 8,000 places to accommodate any increased demand from successful overseas students obtaining an Australian qualification in a skill that is in national shortage, particularly ICT skills.
"Should the additional demand not be generated, or if there is a reduction in the number of occupations that are in national level shortage, the contingency reserve would cease to be used," Mr Ruddock said.
"At this stage, however, there continue to be significant skill shortages and population projections suggest that skill shortages are likely to be an increasingly important issue in the future.
"The 2001-02 Migration Program continues the Government's firm commitment to family migration.
"By maintaining a balanced program, the increase in the Skill Stream has allowed an increase in the Family Stream by over 4,000 places to meet the demand for the migration of spouses, dependent children and other close family members." Mr Ruddock said.
In addition, the Minister said the Government would continue to look at viable options for parents wishing to migrate, which would achieve a fair sharing of the costs associated with parent entry between the parents/sponsors and taxpayers.
"A contingency reserve of 1,000 additional places in 2001-02 and an additional 4,000 places per year thereafter is available for a parents if there is support for such options from the community and Opposition parties."
Recent research by Chris Murphy of Econtech shows that the 2001-02 Migration Program, including the Skill Stream contingency reserve, would enhance living standards by some $323 per head or $6.7 billion in total by 2007-08 compared with the 1995-96 Migration Program that was dominated by the Family Stream.
"Economic modelling done for my Department by Access Economics also suggests that there will be a net benefit to the Commonwealth budget of around $3.7 billion over the next four years if the Program is maintained at the 2001-02 level and structure," Mr Ruddock said.
Given the increasing international competition for the limited pool of skilled migrants, Australia must ensure that it obtains a good share of the pool if it is to continue to transform into a new age economy.
The increased Program is likely to have only a minor impact on population projections as there were other factors to offset the increase such as the recent changes to access to Social Security by New Zealanders.
Migration (Non-Humanitarian) Program 2000-01 to 2001-02
2001-02 Planning Level
Total Family 33 600 37 900
Total Skill 43 0002 3 45 5005
Skill as % of Program 54% 54%
SPECIAL ELIGIBILITY STREAM
Resolution of Status
Total Special Eligibility 2 400 1 600
TOTAL PROGRAM 79 0002 3 85 0005
NOTE: Program numbers do not include New Zealand citizens 1 net outcome as places in the Migration Program taken by provisional visa holders such as spouses, fiances and interdependents who do not subsequently obtain permanent visas are returned to the Program in the year that the temporary visas expire 2 includes additional places from the Skill Stream contingency reserve for ICT professionals with Australian qualifications 3 includes an estimated 500 from the Skill Stream contingency reserve due to increased demand generated by business, State/Territory Governments and regional certifying bodies 4 does not include a contingency reserve of an additional 1,000 places in 2001-02 and an additional 4,000 places per year thereafter available subject to support from the community and the opposition 5 does not include a contingency reserve of an additional 8,000 places available for use: (i) subject to business, State/Territory Governments and/or regional certifying bodies being able to generate additional demand through migration mechanisms specifically designed for their use; and (ii) to accommodate overseas students who successfully obtain an Australian qualification in an occupation in national shortage (that is occupations on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL))
27 April 2001 Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860
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