Australian Government To Grant 144,000 Residence Visas

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The total migration (non-humanitarian) programme for 2006-07 is in the range of 134 000 to 144 000 places. This will comprise 97 500 places in the Skill Stream and 46 000 places in the Family Stream.

On the back of a record jump in migration of 20 000 extra places in the Skill Stream this programme year, the Australia Government will maintain the Skill Stream at that increased level through 2006-07.

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, said “This year we have worked extremely hard to increase the proportion of skilled migrants sponsored by employers or States and regions."

“We have done this by matching skilled migrants with employers through a number of avenues including skills expos, both onshore and offshore; the availability of Regional Outreach Officers; and for the first time this year Industry Outreach Officers, who we have seconded to key industry groups, to support employers."

Employer sponsored migration is up 22 per cent from the previous programme year – putting it at record levels in 2005-06.

The Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) has proven a vital tool. The number of the Skill Stream intake with occupations on the MODL, including their families, will increase four-fold to almost 40 000 people in 2005-06 compared to approximately 10 000 in 2004-05.

The figures show that the Government is matching skilled migrants to areas of need to a greater extent than in previous years.

The Migration Programme concentrates on the skills that business and industry are looking for but will also meet legitimate close family reunion needs. There will be a modest increase in the size of the Family Stream, up 1000 extra places to 46 000. The 1000 extra places will be available for spouse visas. This is on top of an extra 3000 places added to the planning levels for this year, with a total of 37 300 spouse visas in 2006-07.

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