Today’s announcement that the 2002/03 Migration Program will be the largest and most highly skilled in over a decade has been welcomed by the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The Association said that, in particular, the increase in the skilled migration scheme to 60,700 places, some 58 percent of the total program, will help ensure that skill shortages did not hold back the Australian economy as it moved into another phase of strong growth.

“The strong focus on the skilled stream and the increase in selection standards will attract independent skillled migrants who are younger, have better English language skills and hold qualifications that are in national shortage,” Ruth Morschel, the HIA’s executive director of Public Affairs and Policy says.

“For the building industry, this is particularly good news as these skilled migrants are a central contributor to Australia’s economic and social development and are more likely to form households and demand goods and services far sooner than other migration streams.”

Morschel also says that the commitment to a target of between 100,000 and 110,000 migrants for the next four financial years will provide additional certainty to those in the planning and development industries.

Also of note in today’s announcement, according to the HIA, is the pivotal work that the association undertook in getting the overseas students points test amended. “By having the points test amended for this very important category, it will enhance Australia’s age and skill profile and enable the economy to achieve GDP growth targets and rising living standards,” Morschel says.

“These features of the program, along with innovations relating to state and regional-specific migration categories, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to social and economic development not only in the capital cities, but regional Australia as well.”

Source: Building Products News.