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Streamlined temporary business entry approved

"Business should be able to get the overseas people it needs into Australia quickly," the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today.

The Minister, announcing changes to the temporary entry of business people that have gained final Government approval, said the changes will take effect from 1 August.

The changes implement the recommendations of the Committee of Review of Business Temporary Entry, chaired by the Managing Director of Fujitsu Australia, Neville Roach.

"Implementing the reform is part of the commitment to work closely with business to ensure that the Australian economy maintains a competitive edge internationally. The Roach Report had been welcomed by Australian business," Mr Ruddock said.

"Australian companies have told me that quick and smooth transfer of key skills is a fundamental international market reality."

Mr Ruddock said the reforms would result in:

. simpler entry with a new single business entry class; with more flexible definitions of skills;

. streamlined processing of applications; with waiver of labour market testing for certain key activities, and simpler and faster health assessment'

. monitoring to ensure that employers meet financial and immigration undertakings.

"The principle underlying the referral is benefit to Australia. The changes represent a balance between giving business more flexibility to build up international competitive links; while safeguarding employment opportunities for Australian workers."

Mr Ruddock said the changes complemented other initiatives he was planning or had already in train to work closely with Australian business.

"These include giving Australian business people greater access to APEC economies through the proposed APEC business card; reviewing the Employer Nomination Scheme and Labour Agreements; and attracting skilled migrants to regional areas."

"I want the active involvement of business in advising me on how to get the best possible results out of the economic programs under my portfolio, through the establishment of a Business Advisory Panel."

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Ingram 06 277 7860