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Regional migration initiatives receieve strong support

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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: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144


Initiatives to encourage migrants to settle away from the major population centres are beginning to have an impact the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock said today while launching a workshop on the issue.

'This morning's workshop is focussing on the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme which is just one of several initiatives being examined by the Government to encourage skilled migrants to settle away from the major population centres," Mr Ruddock said.

The RSMS was introduced in November 1995 as a pilot program, with a commitment to review its success after a period of operation.

It operates by allowing regional employers and those in the smaller capitals to bring in skilled migrants for vacancies which cannot filled from the local job market. Regional development organisations, such as chambers of commerce are tasked with certifying the local need for that particular skill, before a visa is granted.

An extensive review of the RSMS has been carried out by Mr Jim Petrich and Dr Deborah Kuchler who are members of the Government's Business Advisory Panel.

The review has involved a survey of certifying bodies and telephone interviews with employers who have used the scheme, as well as discussions with relevant state and federal Ministers and government departments.

There has been growing interest in the RSMS. While there were 15 nominations in 1995/96, 128 nominations were approved in 1996/97.

"The take up rate has increased with a heightened knowledge of the Scheme among regional employers," Mr Ruddock said.

The nomination rate continues to grow in the 1997/98 program year, with 106 nominations (covering more than 250 people ) already approved, and 140 visas granted to the end of October (112 offshore and 28 onshore).

"Responses to the BAP review about the RSMS have been overwhelmingly positive. Almost all of those stakeholders questioned believe that the RSMS is of benefit to regional Australia, and want it to continue," Mr Ruddock said

"The final report of the BAP working party will be submitted to me shortly. I am confident that it will contain practical recommendations to improve the operation of the Scheme, which in turn will help restore confidence in the migration program.

2 December 1997 C O M M O W E A L T H

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Steve Ingram 02 6277 7860 P A R L IA M E N T A R Y L iB R A R

EDS NOTE: The Minister will address the workshop in 2R1 at 10:25am, today 2 December 1997

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