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Five Million Australian Visas Set to be Issued this Year

Friday, 24 April 2015

More than five million visas are set to be issued by Australia this year, a new record due to an increase in students and short term workers, it has been confirmed.

More young people than ever before want to study in Australia, up to 1.9 million foreigners want to work in the country and tourism is also on the rise.

Overall it means that Australia is dealing with immigration on a scale not seen since the Second World War, Department of Immigration Secretary Michael Pezzullo said in a speech at the Australian National University.

It is estimated that as many as 1.9 million foreigners are likely to be in the country at any one time over the course of 2015 and the number of traditional permanent migrants is also surging, with this year’s intake likely to surpass the existing record of 185,000, which was set in 1969.

It means extra challenged for the department but Pezzullo said; ‘We face no less a set of challenges than our predecessors did in the aftermath of the Second World War’.

He explained that there has been a rapid shift in the ethnic composition of new migrants away from Europe towards east and southern Asia. The number of Chinese-born Australians has more than tripled to almost 450,000 in the space of two decades and those born in India has risen more than four-fold in that time, to almost 400,000.

Those numbers compare to about 1.2 million born in Britain and more than 600,000 in New Zealand, as part of an overall foreign-born population of 6.6 million. The huge influx means a higher proportion of the population was born overseas than at any time since the gold rushes of the 19th century.

‘This is equivalent to a migrant to population share of almost 28% and the composition of that population is changing in ways that we could never have imaged,’ he added.

Pezzullo said there has been a profound increase in skilled migrants which needs to be carefully managed to meet the country’s economic needs. ‘If a nation’s immigration programme is well crafted and targeted, and migrants enjoy high levels of economic participation, as distinct from high levels of social exclusion and welfare-dependency, immigration has beneficial impacts,’ he explained.

These, he said, include growth in the demand for goods and services; increases in national income, and living standards; improved labour participation; expansion of the economy’s productive capacity; and growth in household consumption and public revenues.

 He also explained that new challenges on migration means that the department has to have ever improving capabilities for real time data fusion and analytics, intelligence based profiling and targeting of high risk border movements.

‘Such capabilities will increasingly allow us to minimise our interventions in relation to low-risk border movements, and concentrate our firepower where it can make the most difference,’ he told the audience.

Source: Australia Forum

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