Australia cuts worker migrant intake by 14 percent

Australia on Monday said it will cut its annual skilled worker migrant intake by 14 percent in an effort to preserve jobs for Australians after a spike in unemployment. Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the skilled migration visa program, under which people can immigrate to Australia to fill certain jobs, will be cut from 133,500 to 115,000 in 2009-10. The list of occupations will also be cut, Evans said.

“The economic circumstances in Australia have changed as a result of the global financial crisis,” Evans said. “It is prudent to reduce this year’s migration intake accordingly.”

Skilled workers make up the majority of migrants.

Bricklayers, plumbers, welders, carpenters and metal fitters are among the occupations to be taken off the list as demand for skilled labor falls in the building and construction sectors. Professions such as nurses, doctors, engineers and information technology will be safe, as Australia still has shortages in those fields.

Evans told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio that the government wants to ensure Australians are not competing for jobs with migrant workers during the economic downturn.

“In (building and manufacturing) where we are seeing a drop off in demand, some major redundancies, we don’t want people coming in who are going to compete with Australians,’ Evans said.

Employers can bring in foreign workers only if they cannot find local workers.

The Master Builders Association supported the cuts, saying unemployment is rising in the building and construction sector.

“We’re projecting at least a loss of 50,000 jobs in this industry over the next 12 months,” the association’s chief executive, Wilhelm Harnisch, told ABC radio.

Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that unemployment had risen to 5.2 percent, its highest level in nearly four years. The federal government predicts a jobless rate of 5.5 percent by June, and 7 percent by the same time next year.

The global downturn that began to bite last year has brought about a swift reversal of fortunes for Australia’s economy, which has enjoyed 17 consecutive years of growth fueled by voracious demand from China and elsewhere for its mineral exports.

(The Associated Press)

1 Response to “Australia cuts worker migrant intake by 14 percent”

  1. 1 crazymig March 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    nice article… i will bookmark this article

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