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Australia’s migration program will be maintained at 190 000 places in 2013-14 to help fill skills shortages and reunite Australian families, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor announced today.
‘The Gillard Government’s top priority will always be jobs for Australians. The permanent migration program is about getting the balance right between our economic and social objectives,’ Mr O’Connor said. ‘Our migration program ensures skilled migrants will continue to fill critical gaps in regions and sectors with genuine skills shortages.‘
The 2013-14 program provides 1,28,550 places for skilled migrants, 60,885 places for family migration and 565 places for migration under special eligibility. The government has made a small shift of 700 places – from the skill stream to the family stream – in response to the continuing high levels of demand for family stream places from Australians, particularly in the partner category. ‘Skilled migration continues to make up more than two-thirds of the program because of its obvious benefits to our economy and society,’ Mr O’Connor said. “Targeted skilled migration enables Australia’s economy to grow by addressing skills gaps and bottlenecks.“
‘It is important that our skilled migration program is driven by genuine skills needs. Under the Gillard Government, skilled migration to Australia will continue to be carefully targeted to ensure skilled migrants complement but do not replace the domestic labour force.’
Skilled migrants who are sponsored by employers to fill vacancies that cannot be met locally and regional skilled migrants will continue to be given the highest priority in recognition of the needs of employers and regional areas.
‘Our regional and state and territory skilled migration program categories are unchanged – we remain committed to helping regional economies and communities grow,’ Mr O’Connor said. ‘A regionally focussed skilled migration program which targets the best and brightest combined with a family program that enables Australians to live with their close relatives and partners will continue to deliver for Australia.
‘This Budget keeps our economy strong, makes the smart investments for our future and ensures every Australian gets a fair go. ‘We are investing for the future, putting jobs and economic growth first and protecting the important services that Australians rely on. ‘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.’ (Source: http://www.minister.immi.gov.au)
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