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Australia reviews migration to benefit regional employers

AUSTRALIA  has commenced a review of the skilled migration occupation lists, welcoming feedback from interested stakeholders, particularly those in regional areas. Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaela Cash, said the department review of the skilled migration occupation list was to ensure it is responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variations across Australia.
“As a Government, our role is to ensure that Australian employers can access workers with the skills needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow when they can’t be met by the domestic workforce,” Minister Cash said.
Minister Cash reiterated the Government’s skilled migration policies were underpinned by the principle that Australian workers are considered first for jobs. “As part of the review, my department will consult with industry, employers, unions and individuals in developing advice for the Morrison Government on the occupations required to meet the labour market needs of the Australian economy.”
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon David Coleman MP, said the Government’s migration program is focused on ensuring employers can access workers to fill critical skills shortages, particularly in regional Australia.
“We’ve allocated 23,000 regional migration places, introduced two new regional visas and signed Designated Area Migration Agreements around the country to attract migrants to the regions, help towns grow and to fill some of the 60,000 job vacancies in regional Australia,” Minister Coleman said.
“The Government is continuing to look closely at ways of filling these skills gaps in regional areas and giving businesses more certainty and confidence that they can get the workers they need, when they need them.”
Occupation lists underpin a range of employer-sponsored, points tested and state-nominated visa programs. This review will inform the next update to the lists, in March 2020. Visit the .
In a separate statement Minister Coleman says the number of migrants becoming Australian citizens continues to rise, with an 80 per cent increase in citizenship applications approved in 2018-19 compared to the previous financial year. More than 145,000 migrants had their citizenship by conferral applications approved in 2018-19, up from 81,000 in 2017-18.
In addition to an 80 per cent increase in the number of people approved for Australian citizenship, the Government has also halved the time between an applicant attending a citizenship interview and the finalisation of their application.
Minister Coleman said improvements such as encouraging online lodgements and increasing the efficiency of citizenship processing had contributed to the increase.
“Australian citizenship is an immense privilege, and fundamental to our national identity,” Mr Coleman said.
“I have been working over the past 12 months to ensure citizenship applications are managed as efficiently as possible, while also maintaining the integrity of the program. “We have invested $9 million into our systems and staff, established a taskforce to focus on complex cases, and increased the number of citizenship appointments available for applicants to attend interviews and sit the citizenship test. “This investment is having a significant impact and I am confident we will see further improvements over the next 12 months.”