Building trades cut from skilled migration list

The government said the removal of tradespeople, including bricklayers, plumbers, welders, carpenters and metal fitters, would result in a reduction of the permanent skilled migration program intake from 133,500 to 115,000. The cuts have been designed to ensure that employers can still access skilled professionals in industries that are continuing to experience skills shortages. “Clearly, the economic circumstances in Australia have changed as a result of the global financial crisis so it is prudent to reduce this year’s migration intake accordingly,” the government said in a statement today. Among the skilled areas to remain on the list are the health and medical, engineering and information technology professions. These changes follow measures announced in December that resulted in only those migrants sponsored by an employer, or in an occupation on the critical skills list, being granted visas under the permanent skilled migration program. Federal immigration minister Chris Evans said the critical skills list would remain under continual review and the government would remove occupations from the list if demand for those skills can be satisfied by local labour. He said the overwhelming message from business and industry is that Australia still needs to maintain a skilled migration program, but one that is more targeted, so that migrant workers are meeting skills shortages and not competing with locals for jobs. Evans also said the 2009-10 migration program would be set to reflect the economic climate as part of the Budget process.

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