Gov't seeks to increase migration program

Date: May 10, 2012

The migration program will be increased during the coming financial year, as efforts are made to fill skills shortages in parts of the Australian economy.

Migration lawyers can assist with any queries applicants may have, as the government takes measures to support key areas where the economy may start to struggle.

However, minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen was keen to point out that the increase would be measured, as the number of places is increased from 185,000 to 190,000.

Mr Bowen explained that the Australian economy currently resembles "patchwork", as certain sectors are struggling to deal with a significant gap in skills.

"Skilled migrants are increasingly moving to growth regions and places where there is demand - they are complementing rather than competing with our domestic labour force," he commented.

"Further recent reforms have made employer-sponsored programs more streamlined and responsive."

The intake of migrant workers over the next 12 months will include 129,250 applicants from the skill stream, 60,184 family places and 565 from the special eligibility stream.

Furthermore, up to 16,000 places have been reserved for the regional sponsored migration scheme to make sure more remote areas have the support they need to strengthen their communities.

Particular emphasis has been placed on allowing families to apply for places, which has been made possible by the government recognising the social benefits of families being able to migrate together.

As a result, the number of family places has increased from 58,600 to 60,185, as the government acknowledges how important it is for people to reside with members of their family.

"Importantly, partners and children can also be great contributors to our nation's productivity," emphasised Mr Bowen.

He expressed that Australia's migration program is driven by the skills that the country's industries genuinely need, rather than people who want to become Australian residents.

It is important to get this balance right so that Australia can reap the maximum benefits, the immigration minister added.

This follows that announcement that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had launched an online video aimed at offering advice to people who are at risk of overstaying their visa.

The message is available in 14 languages and addresses some of the concerns people might have, as well as the stresses they could have if their issues are not resolved in time.

The department pointed out that many people wrongly believe they will immediately be detained if they get in touch once their visa has expired.