Australia Skilled Migration Programme Reduced


Last week, the Australian government announcement during the annual Budget that they will be reducing the size of the skilled migration programme for the 2009/10 migration year.

The announcement did not come as a surprise and follows a cut earlier this year in March. The Australian government now aims to welcome a total of 108,100 skilled migrants to the country during the 2009/10 migration year, which starts on 1st July.

This time last year the government had announced Australia's largest ever skilled migration programme, setting the intake target at 133,500, before scaling it down to 115,000 two months ago. The new target represents an overall drop of 20 per cent on the previous planning level.

Chris Evans Minister for Immigration and Citizenship maintains that Australia is still very much open to skilled migrants.

"The government remains committed to a strong migration programme but unemployment in Australia is expected to increase as the economy slows,"

"The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic climate while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages."

"The reduction is being achieved through a cutback in places for the general skilled category rather than in the high-demand employer-sponsored category or in areas in which Australia has critical skills shortages."

Indeed, it is for this very reason that the government has made migrants sponsored by an employer or state government, or those with skills included on the Critical Skill List, its main priorities for the foreseeable future.

It is worth noting that while the 2009/10 skilled migration programme will be smaller than the current one, there are still 10,100 more places set aside for skilled migrants than was the case in the 2006/07 migration year.

What's more, the Australian Government will provide more opportunities for family reunions in 2009/10, with an increase of 3,800 places in the family component of the migration programme, to 60 300. The increase includes an additional 2,500 places for partners, 1,000 places for contributory parents and 300 for child visas.

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