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Posts Tagged ‘Australian’

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today welcomed the final report of the Baird Review on the legislation governing international education.

It is most pleasing to note Mr Baird’s support for the Rudd Government’s changes to the skilled migration program announced on 8 February 2010.

The skilled migration program changes will encourage overseas students to focus on obtaining a quality education from a high quality provider by removing incentives for students to apply for a course simply in the hope of being granted permanent residence.

Under the changes, the wide-ranging migration occupations in demand list was revoked and will be replaced mid-year by a new and more targeted skilled occupations list to be developed by the independent body, Skills Australia.

The new skilled occupations list will be tightly focused on high value skills that will assist in addressing Australia’s future skills needs. It will deliver a mix of skills across the professions and trades in areas such as healthcare, engineering and mining.

International students currently studying in Australia who hold a vocational, higher education or postgraduate student visa will still be able to apply for permanent residence if their occupation is on the new skilled occupations list.

Students currently studying a course in an occupation that is not on the new skilled occupations list will have until the end of 2012 to apply for a temporary skilled graduate visa which will enable them to spend up to 18 months in Australia to acquire work experience and find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them.

It must be remembered that a student visa is just that: a visa to study. It does not give someone an automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

International students should be focused on obtaining a good qualification from a quality education provider in a field in which they want to work. The changes will in no way impact on international students coming to Australia to gain a legitimate qualification and then return home.

Similarly, Australia’s migration program is not and should not be determined by the courses studied by international students.

Australia will continue to welcome international students and provide an opportunity for those who have the necessary qualifications and skills to find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them for a permanent visa.

Source  :  www.immigov.au

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THE average new mortgage in Australia has hit an all-time high of $367,000 according to mortgage broker Australian Finance Group.

But Queenslanders have been more conservative than the rest of the country, with the average new mortgage in Queensland sitting at $325,000.

The average home loan in New South Wales is now $433,000; in Western Australia it is $391,000 and $386,000 in the Northern Territory.

Australians have been increasingly taking on bigger mortgages, with the average new home loan 6.4 per cent larger than it was in May 2009.

Queensland bucked this trend, however, with new mortgages taken out in November $10,000 smaller than the previous month and close to the state’s January low of $323,000.

Home loans in both Victoria and New South Wales grew since May – up 12.1 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.

The news comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia announced on Tuesday that it was lifting the official cash rate for the third successive time.

The latest 0.25 per cent rise, when passed on by lenders, will cost home-owners with a $367,000 mortgage on a standard variable rate an extra $56 a month, while those slugged with a 0.45 per cent rate hike face an increase of $102 per month.

First-home buyers accounted for just 13.7 per cent of all new mortgages in November, down from their peak of 28.1 per cent in March.

Investors have been steadily returning to the property market over the past four months and represent a third of all new mortgages in November.

Of those who took out a new mortgage in November, only 2.1 per cent opted for a fixed-rate, down from 3 per cent the previous month.

Total numbers of new mortgages were lower than previous months.

Mark Hewitt of Australian Financial Group said: “October and November are seasonally strong months in the calendar, but we’ve seen two straight months of decline.

“Larger average mortgages and greater activity by investors are usually signs of a confident market but confidence is still fragile.

“We believe the RBA hiked rates too quickly and too soon.”

Source  :  www.thenews.com.au

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George Michael will perform two Australian concerts in February, and the first will be in Perth.                                                          

Rumours had been rife that the Too Funky star was headed down under, and today his Australian trip has been confirmed.

Heading to Australia for the first time since 1988, the Wham! star and solo pop vocalist will perform at Member’s Equity Stadium on February 20.  He will then perform in Sydney at Sydney Football Stadium on February 26.

He will perform tracks from the early days, Wham! and his latest material.

Promoter Paul Dainty said it was thrilling to bring Michael back to the country following his Faith tour in the 80s.

“He is a consummate performer and will deliver a stunning show to his fans who have waited 22 years to see him perform in Australia,” Dainty said.

Michael has performed for more than 2 million fans on this 25 Live arena tour so far. More than 350,000 people flocked to his London performances alone.

Michael has sold more than 100 million pop albums, had six American number one singles and won plenty of awards for tunes including Faith, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, One More Try, Freedom, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Too Funky.

Tickets will go on sale through TicketMaster on December 8.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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A new educational resource kit on citizenship will provide school children across the country with a greater understanding of our civic responsibilities and what it means to be an Australian citizen.

The school resource book – I am Australian: Exploring Australian Citizenship – is designed to assist teachers to deliver more in-depth lessons on Australian citizenship and civics to upper primary and lower secondary school students.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the school resource book will help students better understand the meaning and significance of Australian citizenship.

‘Knowledge of Australian citizenship and civic responsibilities is important for all Australians, no matter how they became citizens,’ Senator Evans said.

‘This will be a valuable learning tool for all students, not only for those who have come here from other countries, but also for those who have lived all their lives in Australia.

‘It will also help students appreciate the contribution made to Australia by people from diverse backgrounds, whose journey to Australia was completed when they became citizens.’

The school resource book contains classroom activities which are linked to the curricula of each state and territory and are specifically designed for upper primary and lower secondary school students. The activities relate to Australia’s democratic beliefs, Australian citizen case studies and what it means to be an Australian citizen.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has been producing citizenship resources for schools since 2001. The updated school resource book coincides with the 60th anniversary of Australian citizenship.

Since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949, more than four million people from more than 200 countries have become Australian citizens.

Senator Evans launched the new school resource book with Hindmarsh MP Steve Georganas at the Plympton Primary School in Adelaide, where the Minister conducted a citizenship ceremony for a student and his father.

Zhenguo (Ken) Yang, 43, and his son Pengyu (Kevin), 11, from the People’s Republic of China, became Australian citizens after migrating to Australia in 2005. Mr Yang, a network engineer, came to Australia with his wife Qihong (Linda) Ling, who is studying nursing, to pursue better educational and career opportunities for the family.

‘I congratulate Mr Yang and his son Kevin on their decision to become Australian citizens,’ Mr Georganas said.

‘Citizenship represents a commitment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our common future. It also symbolises our sense of belonging to the country where we have been born or have decided to make our home.’

Source  :  http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2009/ce09100.htm

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Industry leaders in Australia are urging the Australian federal government to overhaul its skilled immigration program to address a looming shortage of workers.

Recent changes by DIAC to the skilled migration visa processing times have meant that many hundreds of applicants for visas have been told that they may have to wait up to 3 years and this is slated to impact on several massive projects announced for Western Australia, including the Gorgon gas development, expansion of the Pluto LNG plant and the development of the Mid-West iron ore region including the massive Gindalbie iron ore mine which will need upwards of 1500 workers during the construction stage.

 The recent Australian Financial Review (afr.com.au) has stated that skills shortages are set to intensify in coming years.

The article calls for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to urgently look at reviewing Australian visa policies to ensure that these shortages can be filled. More immigrants will be needed to work in Australia in industries such as energy, mining  and IT which, according to the review, face a major skills shortage unless something drastic is done to alleviate it.

Major Australian firms such as infrastructure giant United Group have also released warnings to the government that they will be facing skills shortages within 12 to 18 months.

The firm’s CEO Richard Leupen declared that the shortage has been brought about as a result of the tightening of the business visa rules. He says this has coincided with the company’s reduction in training programmes for staff in response to the recession.

In the IT industry, the need is even more acute. A study, commissioned by Microsoft Australia, has found the IT industry will generate $21 billion for GDP by the end of 2013 but any potential growth could be stifled by the shortage of skilled labour.

Bruce Mills, chief executive of IT consultancy firm 3W, says as more IT work becomes available, such as the National Broadband Network, companies will struggle to grow and obtain new projects if the number of skilled workers remains flat.

“What has occurred is that everything that was done to avoid the global financial crisis has sort of spilled over, and so by the time any of the results were felt any issue that caused the crisis is over, and that is what has happened with the tightening of 457 visas.”

Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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IMMIGRATION officials are preparing a 50-year migration plan to ensure that intakes consider a range of long-term issues such as climate change, water needs and national security.

The Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Andrew Metcalfe, said yesterday the department was conducting a review of the nation’s migration needs to ensure a more rounded and visionary approach.

”In terms of the future, we are trying to lift ourselves away from year-to-year decisions to a 50-year vision,” he told the Australian and New Zealand School of Government conference in Canberra.

”We are trying to move away from an immigration department that is responsive to one that can help the government achieve long-term objectives … A long-term planning framework … is something whose time has come.”

Mr Metcalfe said a well-planned skilled migration program could contribute to Australia’s long-term economic, demographic and environmental goals.

”We want to ensure our skilled migration programs are responding to longer-term skill needs which cannot be addressed through domestic training and skills development,” he said.

”The question then is how we can best address shorter-term labour market requirements … It will be important that the skilled migrants we choose are not only young and healthy but also have a high level of education, language proficiency and other skills. This will ensure that skilled migration contributes both to labour force growth and to the productivity of our labour force.”

Mr Metcalfe said the review will include an examination of the points system used to select skilled migrants, known as the Migration Occupations in Demand List.

”The MODL is not as flexible as we would like to address a rapidly changing and uncertain global environment. In my view, one of themes of this century will be the increased mobility of people around the globe, and we need to manage this adroitly.”

But the Government has denied it has adopted a new policy towards asylum seekers in the wake of a decision this week to process a group of 10 Afghan children on the mainland rather than on Christmas Island.

”These are 10 unaccompanied minors and therefore what’s happened is that they’ve been transferred from Christmas Island to the mainland on September 2,” he said

Asked whether there had been a change of policy, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said: ”Absolutely not.”

He told 3AW yesterday the group of 10 children had been transferred to the mainland because unaccompanied minors were given priority in processing.

”That’s what’s happening in the case of these minors,” he said. ”That’s why they’re treated separately.”

Source  :  www.smh.com.au

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British Airways has teamed up with Australian radio station Nova 969 to launch a special promotion.

The airline announced that it would be carrying the popular radio presenting trio Merrick & Rosso & Kate Richie to the UK for a week in September.

Every day during the week, listeners will have the chance to win a pair of World Traveller tickets to London.

The competition is part of an initiative being launched by BA to promote its offer of a trip from Sydney to the UK with a free European break thrown in.

BA previously worked with the radio presenters to launch a competition giving listeners the chance to win holidays in Bangkok.

Sam Heine, the airline’s commercial manager in the south-west Pacific region, said: ‘After our best ever result, off the back of the 2008 consumer promotion Mile Thai Club, it meant that we once again turned to Nova to produce an integrated solution that would spread awareness of the exciting fare deal British Airways has to offer and also to let Australians experience everything that’s fantastic about the UK.’

BA operates flights to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok, as well as connections to Melbourne, Perth and other Australian cities as part of a codeshare deal with Qantas.

Source  :  http://news.opodo.co.uk/NewsDetails/2009-08-26/BA_teams_up_with_Australian_radio_stars

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