With the government soon to announce the 2012–13 Migration Program, it is timely to explain how the government plans for and determines the program’s size and composition.
There are more people wanting to migrate to Australia permanently than the country can accommodate. To manage the number of people granted the privilege to call Australia home, the government sets annual migration program planning levels (See Factsheet 20 on the department’s website for more information). The planning levels set the size and composition of the intake of permanent migrants and are informed by a number of factors that include:
- immediate and forecast long-term social, demographic and economic trends and government policies with respect to migration and population
- expected demand for skilled labour in key occupations and industries over the medium-to-long-term
- estimated demand for places within the family stream, in particular the partner and child categories
- the net gain of population through immigration and emigration as measured by what is known as net overseas migration.
Each year the department conducts nation-wide consultations to seek the views of the Australian public, state and territory governments, unions, peak industry groups, community groups and other key stakeholders. The input gathered during these consultations, as well as considerations arising out of the factors listed above are used to inform the department’s submission to government on the size and composition of the Migration Program for the following year.
Keep an eye out for part two of this blog, which will elaborate on the important role permanent migration has played in the growth and evolution of Australian society, as well as provide an overview of the 2012–13 Migration Program.