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Minister raises capping levels for some visa classes

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

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

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

MRS 67/96


The cap on two visa classes within the Preferential Family category will be raised the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

"The cap on fiance visas will be raised from 1,500 to 3,000 places and the cap for interdependent visas granted on-shore will be raised from 200 to 300 places," Mr Ruddock said.

"These variations do not effect the overall planning levels of 36,700 for the Preferential Family category and 74,000 for the total Migration Program."

"A reduction in the application rates across the Preferential Family category has enabled the Government to review some of the caps that are currently set for parts of the Program."

"Those caps have not yet been reached, but under current legislation, I would not be able to raise the caps once they are reached. Amendments the Government is proposing to the Migration Act will address that problem."

As announced last week, application rates for the Preferential Family category* have fallen by about 14% in the first quarter of 1996-97, in comparison with the same period in 1995-96. Spouse application rates have fallen 16%.

'This reduction in demand is clearly a response to Government policy changes which were designed to bring the Preferential family category back into balance and to restore integrity to the category," Mr Ruddock said.

"The increases in the caps demonstrate the Government's desire to minimise inconvenience to bona fide Preferential Family entrants while restoring a proper balance in the Migration Program between the family and skill streams.

"The increases also demonstrate the Government’s desire to apply capping measures as equitably as possible across all parts of the Preferential Family category."

The Minister warned that this can only be achieved if the Government has the authority to regulate all parts of the Preferential Family category. He said that Parliament must approve the Government's legislative changes to mechanisms for managing the Migration Program.

21 October 1996 Media Contact: Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860 0419 278 715

* Preferential family category applicants cover: husband, wife, de facto spouse; fiancd (prospective

marriage); interdependent partner; parents; dependent child; adopted child; orphan relative, last remaining relative, special need relative (ie who can provide support to the sponsor not available from a relative in Australia), and aged dependent relative (ie of Australian pension age and dependent on the sponsor).

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