Monthly Archives: January 2014

Queensland wants more migrants in their regional areas !

The Queensland Plan aims to have 50 per cent of the state?s population live outside the southeast corner by 2034.

The Courier-Mail has revealed that the Newman and Abbott governments have begun initial discussions about developing a quota system aimed at funnelling new arrivals into cities such as Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton to promote growth.

Queensland’s Premier, Mr Campbell Newman says there is a growing need to alleviate the population pressure in the popular southeast corridor.

“I have actually already had a discussion with the Federal Immigration Minister and we will work on some sort of plan or policy together to try and get people to go as immigrants and refugees to regional Queensland,” said Mr Newman.

Mr Newman said the governments would work together with councils to consider ways to prioritise residency applications for people prepared to live in certain areas.

Queensland governments of the past have tried but failed in similar decentralisation policies as new arrivals continue to flock to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.

Poor infrastructure and jobs have been cited as the reasons for this. However Mr Newman says that his Government will start positively discriminating its infrastructure priorities in order to develop regional Queensland. There are also plans to redirect certain state public services to regional Queensland.

About 100,000 people move to Queensland each year including some 30,000 overseas migrants. The state’s population is predicted to rise from 4.5 million to eight million in 30 years.

There has never been a better time than now to apply for a student visa !!!

It looks the dust has finally settled over the uncertainties in immigration policy and negative press in overseas newspapers of visa prospects and life in Australia for international students. No doubt the drop in the Australian dollar and its predicted further slide has helped once again raise interest in an Australian education.

Education remains a key export earner for Australia with an estimated export revenue of $15 billion a year. International business consultancy Deloitte has reported that Global demand for educational services is about to soar and is expected to swell by about 7% a year between now and 2020.

?Teaching foreign students is Australia?s fourth-biggest export earner, generating $15 billion a year in income and employing about 100,000 Australians. Growth in this industry has increased expertise and infrastructure, creating economies of scale over and above those usually available to a nation of 23 million people,? reports Deloite.

Recent DIBP data shows that 74,019 foreigners applied to study in Australia during the three months to September 2013 – a 7 per cent jump year-on-year, and the highest number of quarterly applications in four years.

Chinese students fuelled the increase, with a 20 per cent rise in the number applying to study in universities and TAFE colleges.

Interest from Indian students more than doubled, with 4148 applications in the three months to September 2013, compared to just 1987 applications a year earlier

Australia now has 346,965 international students – a quarter of them from China and nearly 10 per cent from India.

Australia will need more migrants!

Australia’s productivity is steadily slipping down and will continue to do so if skilled migration numbers are not increased quickly.

The current migration intake of 190,000 a year is not enough to sustain productivity, says the Australian Industry Group (AIG). It says that Australia needs a steady increase in migration intake every year with an emphasis on skilled migration in order to meet current and future skills shortages.

The AIG has proposed that the Federal government needs to act immediately to substantially increase the immigration intake in the upcoming budget by at least 15% to 220,000 to meet the current skills shortage.

The AIG?s chief executive Innes Willox says now is the right time to accelerate skilled migration given Australia’s ageing workforce and skills shortages in industries including mining, construction, engineering and health.

“This proposed increase takes into account the proven benefits to the economy of a strong migration program.  An increase in migrant numbers supports positive growth in our population and especially in our adult workforce, which is important due to relatively low rates of natural population growth.  A higher skilled migration intake is appropriate at present due to Australia’s historically low (albeit growing) unemployment rates; the deepening impacts of our ageing workforce (with 9% of all Australian employees now aged 60 or over and 17% aged 55 or over); and persistent skill shortages in key growth industries including mining services, engineering, infrastructure and health services.

“The Australian Workplace Productivity Agency has identified that Australia will need an increase of about 2.8 million people with quite specific skills over the next decade to fill some of those gaps,” he said.

A recent AIG construction sector surveys indicated that during the six months to September 2013, 67.7% of respondents reported either major or moderate difficulty in the recruitment of skilled labour (up from 65.7% six months ago). The sourcing of sub-contractors was also a dominant supply constraint with 47.1% citing major or moderate difficulty (up from 43.8%).

The skill shortages situation is even more serious in relation to occupations requiring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. The occupations where there are shortages due to low STEM levels, as illustrated by a recent AIG report: technicians and trade workers (41%), professional (26.6%) and managers (26.3%).

‘This is deeply concerning considering the Office of the Chief Scientist recently reported that 75% of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills and knowledge.’

The Ai Group says further increases from the 220,000 level may be needed in future years, despite unemployment currently sitting at 5.8 per cent and tipped to rise well above 6 per cent by Treasury, the Reserve Bank and many private sector forecasters.

Mr Willox says while there are Australians without work, there are not enough skilled workers for a range of specialist occupations, with the AIG singling out residential construction as an area of acute shortages.

He says increasing education and training is a desirable long-term solution, but immigration is a useful stop gap measure.

“We’ve seen Australia slipping down the tables when it comes to those basic skills around our science, technology, engineering, mathematics skills.”