System Message:

Skilled migration targets met

Skilled migration targets met

The government was successful at meeting its skilled migration target in 2011-12, latest figures show, as it filled all but two of the 185,000 available places.

Skilled migration remained a priority throughout the year and accounted for two-thirds of the total program, or 125,755 places.

"Today's skill stream is highly targeted towards employer sponsorship, the regions and high value occupations, with over 60 per cent of skilled migration visas going to employer, government and regional sponsored places to help fill critical skills needs," said immigration minister Chris Bowen.

A total of 16,471 places were delivered under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, which was given the highest priority, with Western Australia accounting for 23.2 per cent of the outcome.

A record number of state and territory sponsored visa classes were also accounted for, increasing 37.5 per cent on the previous year.

Although the figures may seem impressive, concerns have been expressed that just 700 visas were granted under the Special Humanitarian Program last year.

Shadow minister for immigration and citizenship Scott Morrison said that there are thousands of people from all over the world who are seeking protection in Australia, which the government has so far failed to deliver.

He commented: "Once again, Labor can't be believed on what they say about border protection and should be judged on their record.

"What Labor has consistently done is weaken our borders and put people coming on boats to the front of the queue."

The government has also hailed the success of its family stream migration program, which is designed to allow Australians to reunite with close family members.

Family places accounted for 31.7 per cent of the total migration program outcome, with 58,604 positions granted - four higher than had been planned.

In the majority of cases, partners and children are granted the migration visas they need to remain in Australia, although in some circumstances the boundaries will be extended.

"I am pleased that the government will help even more families to reunite under this program next year, as I increased family places from 58 600 to 60 185 in this year's Budget," said Mr Bowen.

Additional figures from the DIAC show that India has become Australia's largest source of migrants for the first time, while China ranked in second position.

The United Kingdom ranked in third place and was one of only three countries in the top ten not to be located in Asia.


Joomla SEF URLs by Artio