Australian immigration minister Brandon O’Conner has announced that the country’s program will be kept at 190 000 places in both 2013 and 2014.
This will help to eliminate the existing job shortages and will reunite Australian families together. In this way, according to O’Connor, there will be a balance between the economic and the social objectives of the program.
‘The government’s top priority will always be jobs for Australians,’ he announced, in what is regarded as a message for the forthcoming general when immigration is set to be a major topic for debate.
‘Our migration programme ensures skilled migrants will continue to fill critical gaps in regions and sectors with genuine skills shortages,’ O’Connor added.
The 2013/2014 programme provides 128,550 places for skilled migrants, 60,885 places for family migration and 565 places for migration under special eligibility.
The Government had taken 700 places from the skilled stream and added it to the family stream due to the larger demand for visas that comes from relatives to Australian citizens and permanent residents that live abroad.
Despite that skilled immigration category continues to take up more than two-thirds of the whole immigration program due to the benefits that it provides for the Australian economy.
Therefore it is very important that the skilled immigration program is driven by genuine skill shortages on the local labour market.
Under the Gillard government, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship made everything possible to ensure that foreign workers that enter the country with skilled migration visas fill the gaps on the Australian market, but do not take any jobs to form the country’s citizens.
Mr O’Connor also said that the recently announced Federal Budget aims to keep the Australian economy strong. ‘We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on,’ he explained.
‘The Gillard Government is doing this to keep our economy one of the most resilient in the world. We have low unemployment, solid growth, contained inflation and low-interest rates,’ he added.