Skilled Australian immigrants represent significant "brain gain"

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Australia continues to enjoy a substantial 'brain gain' from migration, with a new report showing that the nation's intake of skilled and professional migrants increased significantly in 2002-03, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) said today.

The publication, Skilled Movement in the New Century: Outcomes for Australia by Dr. Bob Birrell, shows that Australia attracted more than 36,000 skilled or professional migrants to Australia in 2002-03, an increase from 24,130 in 1998-99. A second DIMIA publication, Immigration Update 2002-2003, shows that a growing number of people are granted a migration visa while they are actually in Australia.

"The publications provide statistics which clearly indicate the benefits of Australia's migration program in bringing skilled and professionally qualified people to our country," a Department spokesperson said. "These people will be an increasingly valuable asset in the future growth of Australia."

The Birrell publication also shows that nearly 9,000 overseas students in Australia became skilled migrants, and that the number of qualified migrants with PhDs coming to Australia, along with Australian residents returning from overseas with a PhD, exceeded the number of qualified people leaving Australia between 1996 and 2001.

"The report strongly endorses Australia's migration program and shows that skilled and professional people overseas see Australia as a place of opportunity. Our skilled migration program allows people to come to Australia and contribute in a real way to the future growth of this country," the spokesperson said.

In Immigration Update 2002-2003, migration figures for the first time are incorporated into a new measure category called 'permanent additions.'

"A growing number of people are being granted a migration visa while they are already actually in Australia. The new 'permanent additions' category combines the number of people entering Australia permanently with the number who gain migration visas after they arrive. These reports demonstrate the overall effectiveness of Australia's migration program in attracting and retaining skilled and professional people, who will add not only to Australia's professional capacity, but also to its multicultural diversity," the spokesperson added.

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