Australia to reduce immigration numbers

23 February 2009

Chris Evans the Australian immigration minister said that due to the current economic situation there will be a reduction in the level of immigration to Australia. Chris Evans also mentioned that six of Australia's trading partners are now in recession. For the last ten years Australia has enjoyed mining boom which has kept unemployment at a thirty year low.

"I expect the numbers of our programme to drop next year ... as a reaction to the economic circumstances," said Mr Evans.

"It is fair to say that we expect the demand in the economy for labour to reduce. As it is a programme very much linked to the demand for labour, we expect to run a smaller programme."

The Australia immigration target for this year is 190,300 immigrants. This is 20 per cent higher than the 2007-08 financial year. It is even higher than the previous record intake of 185,099 immigrants in 1969-70. Australia has accepted about seven million immigrants since the end of the Second World War.

The government will announce the final number of immigrants in the lead up to the national budget to be delivered on May 12.

Even if immigration levels are cut Australia will still be accepting large numbers of immigrants. Australia is continuing efforts to attract skilled workers, with immigration fairs targetting university graduates and people with trades in Europe, Britain and India. About one in four of Australia's 21 million people were born overseas.

"We've been focused very much at the high-skill end over the years, and we will continue to be focused on the skills we need," Mr Evans said.

Evans went onto say that half of the skilled settlers in Australia come as temporary workers and then decide to stay permanently.