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New visa processes to help business, overseas students and skilled migration from 1 July 2001



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New Visa Processes to Help Business, Overseas Students and Skilled Migration from 1 July 2001 MPS 085/2001

Businesses will benefit from a more streamlined system to recruit employees from overseas under changes to the business visa system that take effect from today along with a range of new Regulations.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock said that the changes would streamline nomination requirements for employers responding to identified labour market or skills shortages.

"The existing concept of 'key' and 'non-key' activities in the sponsored long-stay business visa will be replaced by minimum skill and salary thresholds to reflect the objective of this category to bring in only highly skilled people," Mr Ruddock said.

"This will greatly clarify requirements for both sponsoring employers and the overseas employees.

"In another boost to business, particularly the tourism, hospitality, horticultural and rural industries, the Regulation changes will extend the recently announced mutual working holiday maker arrangements to Sweden and Denmark," Mr Ruddock said.

This brings to 10 the number of countries with which Australia had reciprocal arrangements. The other countries are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta and Germany.

"The working holiday maker program brings tens of thousands of people to Australia every

year. There are not only strong two-way cultural benefits and the promotion of international understanding, but there are also positive economic flow-ons," Mr Ruddock said.

Other changes today will modernise procedures to make the application process for student visas more transparent.

Information for overseas students wishing to come to Australia would be more precisely targeted, based on both the applicant's country of origin and the education sector in which they wanted to study.

"This will enable potential applicants to more easily determine their likelihood of success before applying and will place Australia at the forefront of student visa processing arrangements in this highly competitive and growing industry," Mr Ruddock said.

"Importantly, these changes are being complemented by other measures to allow the top successful overseas students to apply for migration via the skilled independent categories, without leaving Australia first.

"These students will include those with key professional occupations in demand in Australia such as information and communication technology," Mr Ruddock said.

Three groups of successful overseas students can apply and have their visa granted on-shore in the general points-tested categories from 1 July 2001. These are:

all students with a specific professional or trade qualification that attract 60 points for skill or students with an Australian PhD in a 50 point occupation ■

all students with a degree in an occupation that attracts a minimum of 50 points for skill and a close family member in Australia who is willing and able to sponsor them; and

■

in reflection of the particular emphasis on regional Australia, all students with a minimum of a diploma in an occupation that attracts 40 points for skill and a family member who lives in a designated area and who is willing and able to sponsor them.

■

All of the changes outlined above come into effect on 1 July 2001. People wishing to obtain further information can contact the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in their capital city or refer to the Department's website, www.immi.gov.au.

1 July 2001 Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7860

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