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1999-2000 migration (non-humanitarian) program



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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

MPS 62/99 1999-2000 MIGRATION (NON-HUMANITARIAN) PROGRAM

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today announced that the 1999-2000 Migration Program will be set at 70,000 places, an adjustment of 2,000 from the planning levels for 1998-99.

Mr Ruddock also announced a range of additional measures to further increase the economic benefits of the program.

This includes an innovative new ‘Contingency Reserve’ to enable business, industry and State/Territory Governments to target additional migrants with specific skills in short supply. (See Media Release MPS 64/99).

“The program will be comprised of 32,000 places in the Family Stream, 35,000 places in the Skill Stream and 3,000 places in the Special Eligibility Stream,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The additional 2,000 places are in the Special Eligibility Stream and will be taken mainly by people who qualify for permanent residence under the one-off Resolution of Status visas, having been part of Australia’s population for 10 years.

“Fifty per cent of the Program has again been allocated to the Skill Stream to ensure a positive outcome from immigration in economic, budgetary and employment terms.

Contingency Reserve

“Given the excellent performance of skilled migrants, and noting calls from industry and some State/Territory governments for an expansion in their intake, the Government has decided to make a further 5,000 places available in the Skill Stream as a special ‘contingency reserve’.

“This reserve will come into operation only when all 35,000 places in the Skill Stream have been taken up”. (See Media Release MPS 64/99).

“I have also decided to adjust the pass mark for the Independent Skilled category from 110 to 105 points out of a possible 120 to allow a more flexible approach to the selection of skilled migrants.

“Based on recent labour market data, there is scope to adjust the pass mark by this margin without reducing the positive economic impact of skilled migration.

“The passmark adjustment will broaden the number of skilled migrants able to gain entry to Australia, with around 4,000 additional people expected to become eligible over the next two years.

Parents

Mr Ruddock said that the numbers of places allocated for parent entry will be limited to 500 in the 1999-2000 Migration program.

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“While there would have been sufficient budget cover for a higher level of parent entry under the post 1 November 1998 regulations the disallowance of these regulations by the Democrats and Labor Party Senators means that this is now not possible.

"When the Democrats and ALP first stated an intention to disallow these regulations I made it abundantly clear that if they succeeded the budgetary situation would force me to significantly reduce the level of parent entry.

“Their actions have meant that the waiting time for a Parent visa will increase significantly, and for this Parent applicants and their sponsors are understandably angry.

“The fact is large numbers of Parent sponsors understood the importance of achieving a fairer sharing of the costs between themselves and taxpayers generally and signalled this by seeking to use the now disallowed visa class.

“Unfortunately, many of the applicants, around 2,500, have been forced back into the 20,000 strong queue by the actions of the non-Government Senators”.

Population Impacts

Current immigration policy settings, together with Australia's low and declining fertility rate, will lead to a steady decline in our population growth rate over the next 50 years and an eventual stabilisation of the population, possibly at around 23 million. (See Media Release MPS 65/99).

ENDS Thursday, 29 April 1999

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

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MIGRATION (NON-HUMANITARIAN) PROGRAM 1998-99 TO 1999-00

1998/99 Outcome (projected) 1999-2000 Planning

Level

FAMILY STREAM Spouse 21,330 24,000

Fiance 3,000 3,000

Child 2,000 2,350

Parent (Old) 2,800 500

Parent (New)* 270

Preferential 1,700 1,300

Carer 550

Interdependency 300 300

Total Family 31,400 32,000

SKILL STREAM SAL 9,000 6,400

SAL (New) 2,000

Independent 13,500 11,300

Independent (New) 2,000

State Nominated** 200 1,000

RSMS“ 700 800

ENS/Labour** 5,000 5,200

Business Skills 6,000 6,000

Distinguished Talent 200 200

1 November 400 100

Total Skill 35,000 35,000

SPECIAL ELIGIBILITY STREAM Former Citizens/Residents 800 350

GORS - Dahlan 400 -

Resolution of Status 400 2,650

Total Special Eligibility 1,600 3,000

TOTAL 68,000 70,000

*As a result of the disallowance of the new parent category by the Senate on 31 March 1999 no further visas can be granted under this category.

‘ ‘ Planning levels for these categories would be increased (against the contingency reserve of 5,000 places), if there were sufficient increased demand through State Specific migration initiatives and targeted nominations from business/employers under the ENS and Labour Agreements categories.