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Determining Australia’s Migration Program

Australia’s migration program for 2013–14 was announced in May 2013. This sets the number of places available for people who want to migrate to Australia permanently. But have you considered how the Australian Government plans and determines the size and composition of the program each year?

To manage permanent migration to Australia, the government sets annual planning levels, which determine the number of people who may be granted the privilege to call Australia home each year.

The planning levels are informed by many factors, including:

  • social, demographic and economic trends
  • government policies relative to migration and population
  • expected demand for skilled labour
  • estimated demand for family reunion places
  • net overseas migration levels.

The department also undertakes comprehensive consultations with state and territory governments, industry and community leaders to prepare advice about migration levels and inform its submission to government on the size and composition of the migration program for the following year.

In 2013–14 the migration program maintained 190 000 places with a small reallocation of 700 places from skilled to family migration.

The shift in places between skilled and family will result in 128 550 places available in the skill stream and 60 885 places available in the family stream in 2013–14. The remaining 565 places in the migration program are allocated to the special eligibility stream, which hasn’t changed from the previous program year.  

During the past decade the composition of the migration program has shifted towards the skilled component in support of Australian labour demands.  The skilled migration program has evolved into a mix of demand driven and independent skilled migration.

A slight rebalance of the program in 2013–14 will continue to respond to Australia’s skills shortages under a slightly softer labour market, while addressing the strong demand for family reunification, enabling more Australians to unite with their close relatives.

With the launch of SkillSelect in July 2012, the skilled component of the migration program has become more targeted—helping the Australian Government to better deliver the skills Australia needs.

For more detailed information on the 2013–14 migration program go to the migration program fact sheets available on the department’s website.