Government tightens skilled migration

Under the changes tabled in parliament yesterday, skilled migrants who have a confirmed job or skills in critical need such as engineers will be given priority for a permanent visa, while migrants with skills not on the critical list would find it harder to get a visa. “Fast tracking professionals on the critical skills will ensure that the economy gets the skills it needs now, not just those applications who applied first,” Immigration Minister Chris Evans said. “There were concerns that the permanent Skilled Migration program was not delivering the right skills to the right areas and there was an increasing use of the temporary skilled migration program (Subclass 457 visa) by employers to meet their needs,” he said. “To meet immediate skills needs, the government will fast-track the processing of sponsored permanent migration visas, where skilled migrants are nominated by employers for jobs that cannot be filled locally.“This will ensure our migration program is more responsive to the needs of the economy and assists industries still experiencing skills shortages.”The changes also give state and territory governments greater scope to address the critical skills needs specific to their economy. However, the minster said the number of visas granted for the rest of financial year would be “kept under review”, while the existing cap of 133,500 places will remain. In the May budget, the skilled migration program was increased from 102,500 to 133,500 places to ease nationwide skills shortages. The new changes will be effective from January 1, 2009. Other professions on the critical skills list include construction trades, medical and IT professionals.

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