The Australian Government released their 2010-11 Australian Budget last night and it contained mixed news for wannabe migrants.

Within the report, the Australian Government has announced it intends to sharpen the focus of the Australian skilled migration program on key skills shortages.

Overall, the Australian Immigration program will remain the current size but the focus will be on employer-sponsored skilled migration as the Government moves to create a more skill- and demand-driven migration system.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said:

“The composition of the migration program will assist in delivering the Government’s reforms designed to address shortages of highly skilled workers, such as healthcare, engineering and mining professionals who have an employer willing to sponsor them”.

“Revising the mix of the skill stream of the migration program is critical to ensuring the reforms are effective,” he said.

Key Points:

  • The Australian Immigration program will remain at the current 168,700 places: the  total skill stream will be allocated 113,850 places; a total family stream of 54,550 places; and 300 special eligibility places.
  • The overall level of Australian skilled migration will increase by 5750 program places, with an additional 9150 program places for employer-sponsored skilled migration and a decrease of 3600 places for general skilled migration.
  • An additional 200 Australian visas in the business skills visa category will also be offered.
  • There will be a reduction in the level of family migration by 5750 program places.

“These reforms support the Government’s policy to deliver a more demand-driven skilled migration program that meets the needs of the economy in sectors and regions where there are shortages of skilled workers,” Senator Evans said.

The as-yet-to-be-announced new Skilled Occupation List, part of the Australian Government’s review of the immigration program, will be a key part of the new Australian skilled migration focus. 

It is expected to be released later in May.