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Thursday, 23 September 1999
Page: 10490


Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 24 August 1999:

(1) What classes of state-specific migration categories applied to the 1998-99 Immigration (Non-Humanitarian) Program.

(2) In each category referred to in part (1), (a) how many persons went to each State and Territory and (b) was a quota available to States and Territories.


Mr Ruddock (Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The following State-specific migration mechanisms were available as part of the 1998-99 Migration (non-Humanitarian) Program:

. Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) which allows for employers in areas covered by gazetted certifying bodies to nominate skilled migrants for entry to fill positions which cannot be filled from the local labour market;

. State/Territory Nominated Independent (STNI) category which allows State or Territory Governments to nominate for entry skilled migrants who have skills in demand in particular jurisdictions;

. Regional Linked category which makes it easier for persons residing in designated areas to sponsor their relatives for entry subject to their meeting threshold requirements relating to skill, age and English language proficiency;

. Skilled-Australian Linked (SAL) category a high volume points tested category which contained a provision (up until 30 June 1999) whereby applicants whose sponsors live in designated areas of Australia accrued 5 bonus points. On 1 July 1999 those bonus points were abolished (applicants who would have benefited from bonus points under the pre-July regime will be picked up under the new Regional Sponsored category);

. State sponsored Business Skills category in which there are four subclasses which allow for State and Territory sponsorship of business owners and of senior executives (two offshore and two onshore).

. Regional Established Business in Australia (REBA) category which applies to business people who have entered Australia on long term temporary business visas and have established viable business ventures in designated areas of Australia. The category, established in July 1997, provides an avenue for them to obtain permanent residence subject to State/Territory sponsorship and their meeting a range of threshold criteria—the criteria applied under REBA are set at a lower level than those which apply to applicants under the Established Business in Australia (EBA) category. As applicants in this category must have a business operating in Australia for a period of two years before they can apply, the volume of applications is still small and no applications have been finalised.

Both the RSMS and STNI are supported by the Skills Matching Database (SMD). The SMD has been in place since November 1996 and contains occupational data regarding offshore Independent category migration applicants who have already had their skills and English language assessed. The SMD can be used by State/Territory Governments or by employers to select and nominate applicants with particular skills.

(2) (a) The table below shows the State or Territory of intended residence for those applicants granted visas under the categories listed in (1) above.

(b) No quotas were applied to these categories in 1998-99. Powers exist under the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations which allow for limits to be placed on the number of visa grants or nominations under specific visa subclasses in a given financial year. These powers were not exercised in 1998-99 in relation to the State-specific migration categories and are unlikely to be used in 1999-2000 given the Government's commitment to promoting these mechanisms and to improving the dispersal of skilled migrants throughout Australia.

DISTRIBUTION OF MIGRANTS GRANTED VISAS UNDER STATE SPECIFIC MIGRATION MECHANISMS IN 1998-99

Category

NSW

SA

VIC

WA

NT

QLD

TAS

ACT

Total

RSMS1

39

436

43

67

41

71

45

23

765

STNI2

169

169

Regional3 Linked

2

29

9

8

4

8

7

67

SAL4

77

396

801

128

17

199

40

86

1744

SSBS5

14

4

23

9

2

6

58

REBA6

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

TOTAL7

132

1034

876

212

62

280

91

116

2803

Source: DIMA MPMS and RESI 2 data—July/August 1999

1 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme—sponsorship by employer

2 State territory Nominated Independent category—nomination by State/Territory

3 Regional Linked—sponsorship by a relative in a designated area

4 Skilled Australian Linked category—figures in the table represent applicants who obtained bonus points because their sponsors live in a designated area

5 State Sponsored Business Skills—sponsored business owners and senior executives

6 Regional Established Business in Australia

7 Total—this outcome presents a 67% increase over 1997-98 (1676 visa grants)