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Caps for independent and concessional family visa classes

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d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MRS 90/96


The number of visas granted in the Independent and Concessional Family categories in 1996-97 will be capped at their planning levels of 15,000 and 7,300* respectively, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

"These measures were foreshadowed in my announcement of the Migration Program on 3 July 1996", Mr Ruddock said.

The measures had become necessary because of the very large pipeline of applications that the previous Government had built up by keeping passmarks in these categories at unsustainably low levels since December 1993.

The Coalition Government inherited pipelines in the Independent Category of about 65,000 and around 34,000 in the Concessional Family Category.

"While the Government has acted quickly to dampen demand and increase skill levels by raising passmarks in both categories, this has not been sufficient to deal with the inherited pipeline," Mr Ruddock said.

"Although the caps are unlikely to be reached until later in 1996-97, I have announced the caps now, to allow all applicants in these categories to be given a clearer picture of their prospects in 1996-97."

"Because I have been able to use the 'cap and queue' powers available for these two categories, processing in these categories will continue after caps have been reached and successful applicants will be visaed in 1997-98, when places become available."

On 11 December 1996 regulations came into force to allow for the grant of two year probationary visas to people entering Australia under the Interdependency arrangements.

"I have decided that people granted these temporary visas will be included in the announced cap of 100 places for the off-shore Interdependency category in 1996-97," Mr Ruddock said.

30 December 1996

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860

* In addition to the 7,300 places, another 700 places have already been set aside for

the regional scheme which came into effect on 1 November and gives applicants special consideration if their sponsors live away from major population centres.