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Hello - This is the first post on the Skilled Migration Blog. My name is Peter Speldewinde and I am the Assistant Secretary of the Labour Market Branch within the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The Skilled Migration Blog has been introduced to share with a wider audience the benefits and challenges of skilled migration in Australia. We hope to use the blog to spread understanding of skilled migration and create a more informed environment for policy development and program implementation. We’ll be aiming to start with one post a week with the possibility of ramping it up in the future.

Skilled migration can be a controversial subject. We acknowledge this, however this blog is not about courting controversy. It is about sharing information and data, flagging potential change and communicating with a diverse audience.

Skills for the mining boom - Enterprise Migration Agreements

Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philscoville/3622992932/Mining boom Mark II brings an unprecedented level of investment and opportunity to Australia. The National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce conducted extensive research and consultation finding that there will be serious skills shortages in the resource industry. The simple fact is this: there will simply not be enough Australian workers to get the job done.


New points test for general skilled migration visas

Millions of people around the world want to migrate to Australia to live and work. Skilled migration is a selective process. An important public policy issue therefore is how to allocate the limited number of places in the skilled migration program to make sure they are given to people who will best contribute to Australia.

Skilled Migration Information Booklets

In Peter's first post, he talked about sharing information about skilled migration.

To help understand the requirements for the different migration programs, the department has created a set of information booklets. For skilled migration, there are booklets on General Skilled Migration and Temporary Skilled Migration.

These resources are regularly updated. When major changes occur, such as the introduction of the new points test from 1 July 2011, a revised booklet will be available. Be sure to always use the most relevant version by going straight to the DIAC website. While these resources are targeted at helping clients understand the various different migration programs, we believe they are useful for anyone interested in skilled migration.

Skilled Migration and Net Overseas Migration

Here at Labour Market Branch, we've noticed there has been some discussion on Net Overseas Migration (NOM) today. As such, we have asked our resident NOM guru for a short piece outlining this issue.  Laze is acting Assistant Secretary, Migration Planning and Strategies Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Below he takes us through his understanding of migration trends and forecasts.

'Net Overseas Migration - it's about the quality'

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently announced that Net Overseas Migration (NOM) for the year ending 31 December 2010 was 171 100 persons. This was almost half the peak NOM recorded in December 2008 of 315 700 people.

Skilled Migrant Profile— Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)

Australia relies on skilled migration to meet the growing demands on its health system. Our latest ImmiTV migrant profile features Andrea, a British nurse manager who immigrated to Australia with her husband, Paul, and two daughters, through the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

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While attending a Skills Australia Needs event in London, Andrea met a representative from the City of Greater Geelong Council who later helped her secure employment in the Victorian public health sector.

Regional Migration Agreements

The Australian labour market is diverse. Here at Labour Market Branch in Department of Immigration and Citizenship, we often hear feedback that local labour conditions are not comparable to national conditions. This can be particularly acute for regional areas and this is one reason why concessions exist for regional employer visas such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS).

How the 457 program creates employment in the Australian labour market

One concern that we hear from time to time is that the 457 program is being used to take jobs from Australians. We understand why people are concerned about this – of course Australian businesses should be hiring and training Australians first.

The 457 program is designed to ensure businesses hire locally first. Not only do we believe the program is meeting this goal, but in the process, overseas workers are stimulating growth in areas with labour shortages, leading to more employment opportunities elsewhere in the economy.

Below is a graph that shows the rate of lodgements for 457 visas compared with the ANZ job advertisement index.


The Business Skills program

The current Business Skills visa program was introduced in March 2003 and aims to attract skilled and experienced business owners, senior executives and investors to migrate to Australia to enter into business or investment activity.

 Business Skills is a niche category within Australia’s skilled migration program distinct from general skilled migration and the employer sponsored visa categories in that it directly creates business, and visa holders become business owners, rather than supporting existing businesses with a supply of skilled employees.

 Small business forms a vital part of the Australian economy. The sector represents 96 per cent of all Australian businesses and accounts for 48 per cent of all private sector employment. [1]

 The objectives of the Business Skills program are to contribute to the growth of the Australian economy by:

Checks and balances - Monitoring 457 employer sponsors

As the 457 program rapidly grew over the period 2003-2007, concerns mounted over the exploitation of overseas workers and the undermining of local wages and conditions. Australian newspapers frequently splashed stories about unscrupulous sponsors abusing the 457 visa program and exploiting their visa holders. The vast majority of these cases involved trades’ level 457 visa holders with little or no English languages skills, and who often lacked the technical skills they claimed.