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Visa hopefuls advised to lodge applications ASAP as Australian Government warns on migrant cuts

by Tom 27/10/2008 14:54:00

As reported by a number of sources, there's been some panic over remarks made by Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans.  He has hinted that there may be cuts to the Australian migration following November's publication of mid-year financial data. With Australia's economy starting to feel the squeeze, Mr Evans is under increasing pressure to start thinking about cuts.

Even though any official declaration from the Department of Immigration will have to wait until November, in this time of uncertainty it should be a matter of would-be migrants should be making their visa applications a top-priority. Applicants will need to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later, since later may be too late!

The first indications impact the global credit crunch is having on Australian immigration levels came earlier this year. The government released figures showing a massive return of Australian workers from all over the world – particularly Australians who were working in the UK. Australia's 2007 population growth rate was over 331,000; the highest it has been since 1988. Of these arrivals, around 31,000 of these were returning Australian ex-pats; a 50% increase on the previous year.

These 'boomerang migrants' are returning home after falling victim to the credit crunch in the UK.  Australians are heavily involved in key UK industries, including the financial sector. As the British credit crunch took hold, it soon became obvious to many of the Aussie ex-pats residing in the UK that it might be time to head back home.

The number of international migrants coming to Australia has also been high in recent years. Between 2002 and 2007, there was a 45% increase on the number of British nationals migrating to Australia, with over 23,000 migrants from the UK arriving in Australia last year to support what was then a booming Australian economy. Unfortunately, since the release of these figures, the Australian economy has slowed, resulting in fears being raised that new waves of skilled migrants might become a drain on the already weakened Australian economy.

In the interests of objectivity, it should be noted that much of this concern has been raised by the Liberal Party, the current Opposition to Australia's incumbent Labor Government. Their call for an immediate cut of 50,000 migrant places seems unlikely to be given any serious consideration by Minister Evans, as he has been staunch defender of the need for skilled migrants. Speaking on their positive impact, he said: "We know that they consume, they buy property, and they're a net positive to the budget .... and a lot of the skills that are coming in at the moment are in the mining sector, which has allowed us to increase our exports."

Unfortunately, Mr Evans was also quoted as saying: "Clearly if the demand for labour comes off, you'd adjust the migration programme accordingly .... we can turn the taps off if we need to." While he might be unwilling to be so drastic as to cut 50,000 migrant places, there is still the definite indication that he will make migrant cuts if necessary.

Given the direction of the world economy, we feel that it is not a question of if migration will be cut; but by how much.

For the time being, there is no answer to that question. However, rather than wringing our hands over the potential changes, we prefer to concentrate on making the most of the current positive migration climate. 

Australia remains a country with skills shortages in many key occupations, meaning that there is still a real and immediate route for eligible workers to emigrate. Nurses, teachers, tradespeople and IT professionals are all in demand. Anyone in these occupations, among numerous others, is still able to take advantage of a fast-track route to permanent Australian residency.  We encourage anyone in this situation to act before any new restrictions are implemented.

The future of Australian remains an unknown quantity, but as long as potential migrants are aware of what could be on the horizon, there is every opportunity to avoid disappointment by acting now. If you are unaware of your eligibility, now is not a time for hesitation. Completing an Australian skilled visa application should be a matter of priority.

- Tom Blackett is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

New Baz Luhrmann Australian tourism campaign launched!

by Tom 14/10/2008 14:57:00

The long-awaited new Baz Luhrmann-helmed Australian tourism campaign has finally launched! With the backing of AU $40 million, the 'Come Walkabout' series of ads has started to hit TV screens in 22 countries across the world, with the UK the first to see Luhrmann's mini-masterpiece.

As a director, Baz Luhrmann rarely travels the beaten path, and the ads certainly take a different approach to Aussie tourism campaigns of previous years. Rather than providing a breezy montage of clichéd Aussie scenes (i.e. sunny beaches, Sydney harbour, shrimps on barbies, ice-cold beers from a friendly barman), it takes a more narrative approach, telling the story of a stressed-out office worker in a bleak, rainy city and her escape to an idyllic Australian landscape after a magical encounter with a tiny Aboriginal child.

Sure, it's a little more conceptual than the Paul Hogan ads of the '80s, but it's certainly something different! Check it out below:


Fortunately, if you fancy a trip to Oz yourself, having magic dirt sprinkled into your hand by a member of the country's indigenous people isn't a pre-requisite. In fact, there's no mud involved whatsoever; provided you hold a passport from one of the eligible countries, just apply for an Australian ETA visa before you leave.

As one of the world's most efficient visa processes, most applicants will have their ETA visa application approved instantly, meaning you'll be able to book your flights and find a billabong of your own in no time!

- He arrived as Tom Blackett, Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.  He departed as Tom.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

British Expats Article - A Mea Culpa?

by Tom 02/10/2008 16:22:00

A few weeks ago, we wrote an article for British Expats called "Would You Be Better Off in Oz?"

The article, it seems, set off a bit of controversy in the British Expats discussion area!

In the interest of transparency, I would like to share our background research so that we can be entirely open about where those numbers came from.  Interestingly, our original versions of this article, and in places where we use it in promotional material, the piece contains full citations.  We removed them from the version on British Expats in the interests of brevity.  It is an editorial decision that we regret!  (You'll have to forgive the boring statistical explanation below.)

The figures in all of the comparison tables are based on the exchange rate of 2.12 Australian dollars to the British pound, as provided by Oanda.com on August 2nd 2008.  Oanda.com powers the exchange rate calculations on our site, among others.

Salary figures were sourced from Salaryexpert.com's August 2008 data, which is in turn based on industry and government publications.  We also used an Australian State and Territory funded employment information source called My Future, found at my www.myfuture.edu.au

If any readers are interested, MyFuture is actually a great source for highly specific career, wage and qualification information!  You can find detailed industry and occupation information at MyFuture.

We are confident that the average salaries we listed were accurate at the time the document was written: 02/08/2008.

Our cost of goods research was from the UK Office of National Statistics (numbers circa July 2008) and from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which uses the average cost of goods in the eight capital cities of Australia.

As for property prices, these were sourced from the 2008 Real Estate Market Outlook provided by the Real Estate Institute of Australia.  Our UK housing prices were, in turn, sourced from the UK's Direct.gov site: www.communities.gov.uk.

I hope that addresses where we got our numbers, but I also recognise the feeling that we have been misleading.  We painted a rosy picture of life in Australia in an article that reads more like a sales pitch than the kind of neutral exploration of life abroad that British Expats is known for.

I'd like to extend an open invitation to British Expats members (Hi BE readers!) to poke away at our research, ask questions, and share their opinions and experiences with us.  That's the great power of online community!

-Tom Blackett is the Online Editor for the Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.