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Minister in Sydney for immigration consultation



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

The Ηθη. Philip Ruddock MP ' Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144

NIPS 32/99

MINISTER IN SYDNEY FOR IMMIGRATION CONSULTATIONS t

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today said initiatives to attract more skilled migrants to Australia were having a significant impact in New South Wales.

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In Sydney as part national consultations on Australia’s 1999-2000 migration program, Mr Ruddock said the number of migrants coming to NSW under the Skill stream increased by more than 28 per cent in 1997-98 over the previous year.

“The 1997-98 Settler Arrivals statistical report shows that 11,287 people migrated to the State through the Skill stream last year, up from 8,805 in 1996-97.

“However, it is important that Government initiatives to encourage more skilled migrants to settle outside of metropolitan areas are continued.

“If NSW is serious about the benefits skilled migrants can bring to rural areas then it needs to participate more in programs such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

“The RSMS enables Australian employers in regional or low-growth areas to fill skilled permanent vacancies with overseas personnel if they cannot find suitably qualified workers in Australia.

“There are a number of areas where employers are unable to fill professional positions in regional NSW. Programs such as the RSMS can help meet this demand/

Mr Ruddock said NSW would also benefit from the decision last year to make all of NSW, outside of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, a designated area,

“People in this designated area who meet certain criteria can now apply under the Regional Linked category to sponsor relatives to come to Australia.

“Additionally, people who have established viable businesses in the designated area are able to apply for permanent residence under the Regional Established Business in Australia (REBA) category, if they are sponsored by an appropriate regional authority.

"The Government is committed to ensuring that skilled migration to Australia continues to improve, so all Australians can share in these benefits".

Mr Ruddock said the Settler Arrivals report also showed that:

• Some 31.1 per cent of all permanent settlers to NSW entered under the Family Stream, down from 46.6 per cent last year.

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• The Humanitarian Program accounted for 11.7 per cent of arrivals in NSW consistent with last year's figure. • Among the new settlers to NSW, were people from New Zealand (13.3%), the United Kingdom (8.7%), China (excl. Hong Kong & Taiwan) (8.3%), Hong Kong

(SAR of China) (5.8%), and South Africa (5.6%).

• The Non-Program migration category (mainly New Zealand citizens) attracted " 21.3 per cent of settlers, up on last year’s figure of 17.5 per cent.

Mr Ruddock said during this year’s consultations he will meet with a wide cross­ section of individuals and organisations including representatives of business, economic, industry, union, environment, welfare, planning, r^tigee, humanitarian and ethnic community groups.

“This is the first time that a nation-wide round of public meetings has been held on the migration program".

Consultations and public meetings are also being held in Melbourne, Griffith, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Launceston and Hobart.

ENDS Monday, 22 February 1999

Media Inquiries: Brad Robinson (02) 6277 7860 or 0419 278 715