Bid to build 'Big Sydney' with help of skilled migrants

Date: Mar 22, 2012

The role played by skilled migrants in building up critical mass for infrastructure development and economic momentum has been recognised by the NSW government, which unveiled new plans on March 21 to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The state minister for trade and investment, Andrew Stoner, explained that a new initiative would be launched that would help to streamline the sponsorship process for experienced international businesspeople, investors and "high-value" foreign students.

Mr Stoner told the Fairfax publication that he was preparing to enter into negotiations with federal departments in order to develop a program that could see a new visa pathway introduced to make NSW an attractive destination.

In particular, the deputy premier said he was interested in attracting more investors on the 165 visa subclass - a visa that requires investments of between $750,000 and $1.5 million on commercial projects in Australia - along with other proposed changes.

The minister explained: "To boost economic activity in NSW, we would like the state's allocation of state- and territory-sponsored skilled migrants increased to around 30 per cent, in line with our share of the economy and population.

"NSW is already the preferred Australian destination for the majority of long-stay business migrants, skilled migrants and international students, but there's more we must do to realise the full economic and cultural benefits."

Based on past performance, the increase to 30 per cent of total migration allowances could see the state accepting as many as 7,200 temporary international residents each year.

Other changes put forward by Mr Stoner includes reducing barriers for international students - streamlining visa processing times, broadening study areas and extending post-study work options.

However the bulk of proposed changes are focused on economic development, with reviews on the definition of investments to include state government bonds - which can be used to fund infrastructure developments - as well as making residency options more flexible.

Mr Stoner said: ''Business migrants, in particular, bring with them experience, international connections, entrepreneurial skills and capital to establish new businesses.''

The new developments highlight the opportunities available for foreign investors but also serve to demonstrate the valuable services of lawyers in immigration.

Immigration lawyers have the legislative background to help applicants be able to demonstrate their proposed investment activities in a way that meets the demands of the federal immigration department.

This can help to further streamline the submissions process, giving an application the best possible chance of success.