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Minister announces 2002-03 Migration (Non-Humanitarian) Program.

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M e d i a R e l e a s eThe Hon Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 and Indigenous Affairs Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Portfolio information is also available on the Internet:

MPS 30/2002


Australia’s 2002-03 Migration Program will be the largest and most highly skilled in over a decade, with a planning level set in the range of 100,000 to 110,000 places, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

Mr Ruddock said the highly targeted Program would help ensure skill shortages did not hold back the Australian economy as it moved into another phase of strong growth.

“The Program will continue to be a central contributor to the economic and social development of Australia,” Mr Ruddock said.

“At the mid-point, the 2002-03 Migration Program will be 12,000 places higher than the 2001-02 Migration Program which has a projected outcome of 93,000.”

The bulk of the increase will be in the Skill Stream, which will have 60,700 places, compared to the projected record of 53,500 places for 2001-02. The Skill Stream at the mid-point of the program planning range (105,000 places) will be 58 per cent of the total program, a significant increase from 29 per cent of the Program in 1995-96.

(see Attachments 1 and 2)

The Program would be maintained at between 100,000 and 110,000 for each of the next four financial years, barring exceptional circumstances.

This will provide additional certainty to decision-makers in both the public and private sectors regarding immigration levels and the impact of these on population trends. (see Attachment 3)

The Program will be delivered at the upper or lower end of the range depending on:

• application rates in demand driven categories such as spouses, fiances, children and employer nominated and business categories; • the take up of state-specific and regional migration categories to achieve a better dispersal of the intake; • the extent of national skill shortages and the ability to attract migrants to these;


• the availability of high standard applicants in the skilled categories.

“The larger Programs for the next four years have only become possible due to the major reforms the Government has progressively introduced over the past six years,” Mr Ruddock said.

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock

“These have ensured the Program has integrity and has a positive impact on Australian living standards, improves income equality and has a highly beneficial impact on Commonwealth and State budgets.” (see Attachment 4)

The improved impact is due to both the increased focus on the Skill Stream as well as the major increase in selection standards. These have led to today’s independent skilled principal migrants:

• being younger - around 63 per cent of principal applicants aged 18 to 29 compared to 51 per cent in 1994-95; • having better English language skills - about 90 per cent of principal applicants achieved maximum points for English compared to 83 per cent in 1994-95; • holding qualifications that are in national shortage (40 per cent were on the

migration occupations in demand list); and • almost half having obtained their qualifications from an Australian educational institution.

“The pass mark for all independent skilled applications received after today will be increased by five points, which will further improve the beneficial impact of this category,” Mr Ruddock said.

“This would also provide the opportunity to increase the relative attractiveness of existing and other possible measures to improve the dispersal of the intake to regional Australia. (see Attachment 5)

“I am also taking some further immigration initiatives to assist the entry of nurses to Australia,” Mr Ruddock said. (see Attachment 6)

The Family Stream will also benefit, with the provision of 43,200 places, the biggest number since 1996-97 and an increase of over 5,000 on this year’s likely outcome.

“The Family Stream would meet legitimate family needs of Australians consistent with ensuring the bona fides of all applicants,” Mr Ruddock said.

“In addition, 4,000 places in a full year remains available for parent migration should there be support from opposition parties to allow legislation to ensure a fair share of health and welfare costs is covered by a parent and the Australian sponsor compared to taxpayers in general,” Mr Ruddock said.

7 May 2002


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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock


MIGRATION PROGRAM 1983-84 TO 2002-03 (persons)

* expected outcome for 2001-02 and planned outcome at mid-point of range for 2002-03

MIGRATION PROGRAM 1983-84 TO 2002-03 (percentage)

* expected outcome for 2001-02 and planned outcome at mid-point of range for 2002-03

M igration Program Outcom es by Stream - 1983-84 to 2002-03*









83-84 8 4 -85 8 5 -86 8 6 -87 8 7 -88 8 8 -89 8 9 -90 9 0 -91 9 1 -92 92-93 9 3 -94 9 4 -95 9 5 -96 9 6 -97 9 7 -98 9 8 -99 9 9 -00 0 0 -01 0 1 -02 0 2 -03

Y ear

P ersons



Fam ily

M ig ra tio n P ro g ra m O u tc o m e s b y S tre a m - 1 9 8 3 -8 4 to 2 0 0 2 -0 3 *

0 %

1 0 %

2 0 %

3 0 %

4 0 %

5 0 %

6 0 %

7 0 %

8 0 %

9 0 %

1 0 0 %

8 3 -8 4 8 4 -8 5 8 5 -8 6 8 6 -8 7 8 7 -8 8 8 8 -8 9 8 9 -9 0 9 0 -9 1 9 1 -9 2 9 2 -9 3 9 3 -9 4 9 4 -9 5 9 5 -9 6 9 6 -9 7 9 7 -9 8 9 8 -9 9 9 9 -0 0 0 0 -0 1 0 1 -0 2 0 2 -0 3

Y e a r

P e rs o n s

S p e c ia l S k ill F a m ily

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock



2001-02 AND 2002-03

Category 2001-02

Likely Outcome 2002-03 Planning Level

FAMILY STREAM Spouse1 Fiance1 Child2 Parent3 Preferential5 Interdependency1

28,140 4,150 2,200 5604 2,350


32,000 4,800 2,700 500 2,500


TOTAL FAMILY 37,900 43,200

SKILL STREAM Skilled-Australian Sponsored6 Independent ENS/LA/RSMS/STNI8 Business Skills9 Distinguished Talent 1 November

6,8007 29,6007 9,0007 7,900

170 30

10,500 32,200 9,800 8,000

170 30

TOTAL SKILLED 53,500 60,700

Skill as % of Program 57.5% 58%


TOTAL PROGRAM +/- 5,000 from mid-point10

93,000 100,000-110,000

NOTE: Program numbers do not include New Zealand citizens. 1 Net outcome as places taken by provisional visa holders who do not subsequently obtain permanent visas are returned to the Program in the year that the temporary visas expire. 2 Includes child-adoption, child dependent and orphan minor. 3 Does not include a contingency reserve of 4,000 places in a full year subject to support from Opposition parties. 4 Includes Designated Parents 5 Includes aged dependent, carer, orphan unmarried and remaining relatives. 6 Includes brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, non-dependent children, working aged parents, grandchildren and first cousins who have been skill tested. 7 Includes the 8,000 places in from the Skill Stream contingency reserve in 2001-02 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 (Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL)). 8 Includes Employer Nomination Scheme, Labour Agreement, Regional Sponsored Migration

Scheme and State/Territory Nominated Independent Scheme. 9 Net outcome as cancelled visas are returned to the Program in the year in which they are cancelled. 10 To be maintained for each of the next four years, other than in exceptional circumstances.

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock



The increase in the Migration Program, if maintained indefinitely, and all other things being equal, will increase net overseas migration (NOM).

Other components of NOM could vary in the longer term such as the contribution of long term temporary movements, the movement of New Zealand citizens under the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement, and emigration.

Net long-term temporary movements have been growing very strongly in recent years and there is some question as to whether that can be maintained indefinitely. Growth in long-term business residents, for example, has peaked in the last six months following the global economic downturn.

Changes to the access of New Zealanders to social security benefits in Australia, together with recent stronger economic growth in New Zealand, may slow the movement of New Zealanders to Australia.

Australian-trained people are likely to remain very attractive to organisations overseas leading to continued high levels of emigration.

On the other hand, there is continuing growth in overseas student numbers, an important source of long-term and permanent movement to Australia, and the Australian economy appears likely to remain relatively strong compared to many other countries.

The actual level of NOM will also depend on the relative strength of the Australian economy compared with other countries and the degree of emerging competition for predominantly skilled people, particularly from many countries in Europe that are facing population and workforce decline.

A Migration Program at 2001-02 levels of 93,000 continued indefinitely would likely see long-term NOM average around 80,000 per year and population reach about 25 million in 2050. A Program of 105,000 (±5000) would likely see long-term NOM average up to 100,000 per year and population reach up to 27 million by 2050.

2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050

Long-term average NOM per year (persons)

Population Projections (millions)

% of

population over 65 in 2000

% of

population over 65 in 2050

80,000 19.2 21.0 22.5 23.5 24.6 25.0

100,000 19.2 21.2 23.0 24.5 25.6 26.4

Number of Persons Aged 15-64 (millions)

80,000 12.9 14.3 14.8 15.0 15.1 15.0

NOM 80,000


NOM 80,000


100,000 12.9 14.5 15.2 15.6 15.9 16.0

% of Persons Aged 15-64 as % of Population

80,000 67.2 68.2 65.9 63.1 61.4 59.9

100,000 67.2 68.3 66.1 63.5 62.0 60.5

NOM 100,000


NOM 100,000


• Assumes fertility falls to 1.65 by 2012 and that life expectancy increases by about 1 year every 10 years.

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock



Modelling by Econtech suggests that the 2002-03 Migration Program, if maintained until 2007-08, together with the increasingly strong focus on skilled migration and the many improvements made to migration policy since 1995-96, will deliver an increase of $344 per head in living standards for all Australians compared with continuation of the 1995-96 Migration Program. Total consumption is higher by $7.2 billion. Employment as a proportion of the population is also estimated to be 0.86 percent higher.

Skilled Migration: Improving Living Standards





















$ billions

$7.2 billion Improved Living Standards

The Commonwealth Budget, according to Access Economics modelling, would also benefit to the tune of $4.3 billion over 4 years, and $32.7 billion over 10 years if the 2002-03 Migration Program level continued. Skilled migrants contribute most of this benefit.









$ billions

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10

Planned Migration Program 2001-02 Planned Migration Program 2002-03

Skilled Migration: Critical to Sustaining the Budget Bottomline

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock



Over the last five years the Commonwealth has worked closely with State and Territory governments and regional authorities to develop a broad range of State Specific Migration Mechanisms (SSMMs). The purpose of these is to effect a more balanced regional dispersal of migrants within Australia. A key objective of these mechanisms is to provide these governments and authorities with greater opportunities to influence the volume and profile of skilled and business migrants settling in their jurisdictions.

These mechanisms also provide employers and businesses in regional Australia with a means of business expansion and of attracting skilled workers. They enable employers, State/Territory Governments or relatives to sponsor prospective skilled migrants.

The design of the mechanisms is based on research that shows three factors are critical in determining the settlement patterns of migrants: the location of family members; the availability of employment; and business opportunities.

The number of visas granted under the various SSMMs has increased from 1,126 in 1996-97 to 3,846 in 2000-01, the highest level since the initiatives were introduced. A total of over 15,000 visas have been issued under these mechanisms since 1996-97. In 2000-01, most grants were made to applicants going to Victoria (47.5 percent), followed by South Australia (19.5 percent).

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration (JSCM) in its report ‘New faces, new places’ endorsed the Commonwealth's approach to the SSMMs and recommended further enhancement and expansion. The Committee found there had been good cooperation between the Commonwealth and the State and Territory Governments in the development and operation of these mechanisms and that this should be continued.

Noting the possible maturation of existing mechanisms the Commonwealth is currently considering a package of enhancements to SSMMs to enable a higher number of skilled and business migrants to settle in regional Australia. Wide consultation on the possible enhancements is being undertaken with State and Territory Governments and other interest groups including an external reference group of regional representatives and another external reference group on business migration.



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V is a s 1 , 1 2 6 1 , 7 5 3 2 , 8 0 4 3 , 3 0 9 3 , 8 4 6 3 , 8 0 0

1 9 9 6 -9 7 1 9 9 7 -9 8 1 9 9 8 -9 9 1 9 9 9 -0 0 2 0 0 0 -0 1

2 0 0 1 -0 2 (e s t im a t e d o u t c o m e )

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock


NSW 6% SA 25%

VIC 40%

WA 9%

NT 2%

QLD 9%

TAS 4%

ACT 5%


The package of possible enhancements includes:

• measures to increase the number of potential skilled migrants on the skill matching database that is currently used by employers and State and Territory governments; • improving the effectiveness of the State/Territory Nominated Independent scheme by introducing a two stage process to these visas; • changes to the general skilled migration category including:

- providing an additional 5 bonus points for overseas students who have recently completed their qualifications by studying and living nearby for a period of at least 2 years at the campus of an education institution in regional Australia, and

- increasing the period of time students are required to attend a tertiary institution in Australia to be exempt from the work experience requirement from 12 months to 2 years; • changes to temporary residence to allow regional certifying bodies a greater role to

support sponsorships in regional Australia; • special sponsorship and nomination arrangements for regional health authorities to bring in doctors and nurses where there is no direct employer but there is a need for self

employed people with those skills; • extending the potential length of temporary residence visas for doctors in ‘areas of need’ to up to 4 years; • labour agreements to fill regional shortages; and • increased awareness raising and assistance in using regional migration categories.

A further part of the package of enhancements includes a two-stage process for Business Skills categories. Australia’s Business Skills categories encourage successful business people to settle in Australia and use their proven skills in business.

The vast majority of business migrants settle in the major metropolitan centres, particularly Sydney. Very few business migrants settle in regional Australia. Current arrangements for state and territory sponsorship are under-utilised and sponsorship carries little weight. Moreover, there is currently no requirement for state/territory sponsored business migrants to live in the sponsoring state/territory or in any particular region.

The Government is keen to increase the proportion of business people settling in regional Australia and is currently consulting with State and Territory governments, the business community and others with an interest in the Business Skills categories about this. An external reference group has been appointed to advise on the options. A discussion paper, Improving the performance of business skills migrants, has been issued and once consultations are complete, announcements will be made. The key features of a possible initiative to increase Business Skills migration to regional Australia include:

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock

• establishing a clearer two-stage business migration process (ie a provisional temporary visa and then permanent residence once a business is established fully) with the possibility of state/territory sponsorship at both the provisional and permanent stages;

• placing greater emphasis on sponsorship at both stages by State/Territory governments and/or regional authorities (ie relatively lower entry criteria for sponsored applicants); and • immediate permanent residence being available to high calibre business migrants sponsored by State/Territory governments, otherwise, permanent residence would only

be available to provisional business migrants who successfully set up a business in the sponsoring state/territory or region.

The expected benefits of this possible initiative include:

• a better dispersal of business migrants to sponsoring states/territories and regions; • increased business engagement rates as potential sponsoring states/territories and regions may provide improved assistance with business set up advice; and • increased program integrity as provisional business migrants would need to establish a

business to obtain the benefits of permanent residence.

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Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Philip Ruddock



Like most developed nations with ageing populations, Australia faces a growing shortage of nurses in almost all categories. While the primary means of addressing this shortage is through training and retention initiatives, temporary and permanent migration can assist. Further measures that are being taken include:

• a ministerial direction to give priority processing to applications from nurses. This will cover both permanent and temporary entry visa classes. The reduced processing times will allow more nurses to be accepted and to enter Australia more quickly than other professionals. The priority processing to be given to nurses already applies to applicants for regional Australia and Information and Communication Technology professionals;

• the visa requirements will be modified to allow all students and their dependents to apply onshore for long stay temporary residence if they have recognised nursing qualifications. Previously, only students who have successfully completed an Australian diploma or higher qualification could apply without the need to depart Australia;

• the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs will work closely with health authorities, especially public health providers, to streamline the processing of visa applications from nurses. This can be achieved through labour agreements with employers, which will make it easier to sponsor nurses. Labour agreements provide flexible and straightforward arrangements for the temporary and permanent entry of nurses.

These initiatives build on existing flexible and comprehensive arrangements for nurses to enter and stay in Australia under a number of different visa options. These have ensured that Australia gains more nurses each year than it loses, through migration.