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Philippines climbs migration ranks: report

Michelle Baltazar

Philippines is the fourth largest source of migrants in Australia, leapfrogging South Africa to earn a spot just behind China, UK and India, a report found.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship this week released the 2010-11 Migration Report, which shows the outcome of the government’s ongoing skilled migration reforms.

According to the report, there were more than 168,000 places offered to migrants who wanted to come to Australia as a skilled worker, to be with their family or relatives and under ‘special eligibility’ rules.

There were two historic findings this year: one, for the first time ever, China bested UK as the largest source of migrants in the country and, similarly, Philippines bested South Africa as the fourth largest.

Hopping to Australia Photo from www.immigration2australia.com
Hopping to Australia Photo from www.immigration2australia.com

More than 10,800 people of Filipino citizenship came to Australia in the year to June 2011 versus more than 8,600 from South Africa over the same period.

This is a reversal from the trend in the past four years when South Africa had consistently beaten Philippines to the fourth place. More importantly, the 2011 figures show that the number of migrants from the Philippines rose more than 61% since 2007.

Australia’s migration reforms also bode well for Filipino-Australians as the Government is raising its support towards family reunions. More than 32 per cent of visas granted during the year were for family reunions, the report found.

Filipinos who are thinking of coming to Australia should also look closely at the government’s Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, which aims to address the shortage of skills in regional areas. Next year, the Government is allotting an additional 16,000 places for this scheme, up 60 per cent on last year’s levels.

The report also found a spike in visa places given to migrants in an accounting profession.

Compared with the previous year’s numbers, the Government provided less places for registered nurses and computing professionals.

By contrast, there were more cooks and general managers than in 2009-10.

While the abovementioned professionals made up the bulk of the skilled workers in demand, a smaller proportion went to tradespersons and related workers.

From July next year, the new skilled migrant selection register, SkillSelect, would be up and running, allowing prospective migrants to express interest in skilled migration before they are invited to lodge a skilled visa application, said the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP.

“SkillSelect will ensure that visas are allocated to the best and brightest skilled migrants so that the Migration Program can better meet the needs of Australian businesses,” he said.

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