The Australian government announced that it would increase the number of places by 31,000 under its permanent skilled migration program. According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the move is to relieve pressure on employers struggling with skills shortages.
"The permanent skilled migration program is a capped scheme that has not been allowed to grow sufficiently in the past to respond to the skills shortages now faced by employers," said Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
The number of extra places under the permanent skilled migration program represent a 30 percent increase over the 2007-08 year, setting a new record.
"This record increase in the number of places in the permanent skilled migration program, since the introduction of managed migration in 1947, will help ease Australia's skills shortage and help fight inflation," Evans noted.
The increase in placements is in addition the 6000 extra skilled migration places announced in February.
This will bring the total number of places under the skilled migration program to 133,500 places and the total for all migration streams to 190,300 for the 2008-09 year. Family immigration places will increase by 6,500 places to 56,500, which includes 4,000 places for parent visas.
"This significant increase of permanent skilled workers in 2008-09 will ensure a better balance in our skilled migration program overall," Evans said. "Australia's skilled migration program is structured to target skills to meet the needs of the job market by maximising the use of employer-sponsored migration."
According to DIAC, research findings show that permanent skilled migrants have a labor market participation rate of 90 percent in Australia.
Australia has various skilled migration programs, including its General Skilled Migration program. Under this points based system, people looking to live and work in Australia can apply for a permanent resident visa if they have skills in a number of areas, from skilled trades to highly skilled professional work.
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