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Smaller and more skilled migrant intake

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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

MRS 3/98


The latest quarterly figures show a continuing drop in the number of migrants arriving in Australia and a greater proportion entering under the skilled categories, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock announced today.

The September Quarter 1997 Immigration Update shows 19,226 migrants arrived in Australia in the first quarter of 1997-98, representing a 15.2% reduction on the corresponding period of the previous year.

"This lower figure is the result of the smaller, better focussed Migration Programs the Government has introduced," Mr Ruddock said.

New Zealand, the UK and China were the top three source countries of migrants, with New Zealand being the only one of the three to record an increase in numbers.

"We have also seen a 7.4% increase in the number of permanent departures, with 7,338 people leaving Australia in the quarter, meaning that net permanent migration has also dropped significantly to 11,888," Mr Ruddock said.

The Government's greater emphasis on skilled migration in the non-Humanitarian Program is showing results, with just over half the migrants in that sector entering through the skilled categories.*

"Skilled migrants bring human and financial capital to Australia, helping to grow our economy and create more jobs for Australians," Mr Ruddock said.

"This has also translated into a lower proportion of migrants entering through the family stream and a better balance in our settler arrivals.

"The smaller program with greater focus on skilled migrants delivers on the Government's election commitment to balance Australia's economic, social and environmental needs with our international obligations.

"It is also an important factor in our ability to maintain public confidence in a program that can produce benefits for Australia when properly managed."

The report also examines citizenship outcomes and intentions. It has found that citizens of China and Britain form the largest number of migrants who took out Australian citizenship during the quarter.

Results of a separate survey in Immigration Update have shown that principal applicants from Iraq were the most likely to indicate an intention to apply for Australian citizenship.

13 January 1998 Media Contact: Steve Ingram 02 6277 7860 0419 278 715

‘ NOTE: The non-Humanitarian Program covers mainly the Family and Skilled streams. The Concessional Family Category has become a truly skilled category and is now called the" Australian Linked Skilled Category. It was formerly counted under the Family Stream. The proportion of Skill Stream migrants has increased, even taking into account this change.

Immigration information is also available on the Internet at