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A new report has found Australia’s migration program is more effectively meeting the needs of employers with a 60 per cent increase in the number of employer-sponsored skilled migrants to Australia in 2008-09 compared with the previous year.

The Report on Migration Program 2008-09 shows that the Rudd Government’s targeted approach to overseas workers is helping to fill critical skills gaps in the healthcare, engineering, financial services and IT sectors.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that changes introduced in January including the Critical Skills List (CSL) of high value occupations and prioritising employer-sponsored or state/territory-sponsored skilled migration visa grants were having a significant impact.

Overseas workers who were sponsored by employers comprised 33 per cent of the 2008-09 skill stream compared to 22 per cent in 2007-08 and 17 per cent in 2006-07.
“A properly targeted migration program will ensure we have the right sized and appropriately skilled labour force to meet Australia’s needs now and into the future as our economy recovers and grows.”

The Government cut the 2008-09 permanent skilled migration intake in March 2009 by 14 per cent from 133 500 to 115 000 and reduced planning levels for the permanent skilled migrant intake in the overall 2009-10 migration program to 108 100 places.

“This is in direct response to the economic slowdown and represents an overall drop of almost 20 per cent on previous planning levels,” Senator Evans said.

“The migration intake in the coming year reflects the economic conditions while ensuring employers can gain access to skilled professionals in industries still experiencing skills shortages such as healthcare and engineering. “The reduction is being achieved through a cutback in places in independent skilled migration rather than in the high-demand employer-sponsored category or in areas in which Australia has critical skills shortages.”

Across all permanent skilled visa categories, the top three occupations for successful applicants were accountancy (6238), computing professionals (3879) and registered nurses (3355) while the top three countries of citizenship under the skill stream were the United Kingdom (23 178), India (20 105) and China (13 927).

“Australia’s migration program is better targeting the needs of Australian employers who are still experiencing skill shortages,” Senator Evans said.

Source  :  www.manmonthly.com.au

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AUSSIE Home Loans has recorded a strong rise in the number of borrowers looking to refinance their mortgages, as home owners try to take advantage of record low interest rates.

The non-bank lender said refinancing accounted for 38.5 per cent of home loans written in June, up from 30.2 per cent in March.

“There have been plenty of home owners who have been complacent about their mortgages,” Aussie founder and executive chairman John Symond said.

“But our figures show that more and more of them are taking advantage of record interest rate lows and are actively seeking out the best deal.”

However, the number of first home buyers settling home loans dropped to 21.3 per cent of total loans written in June, from 32 per cent in March.

“The steam has abated in the first home buyer market as many of them realise that the properties available are probably already at full price,” Mr Symonds said.

“They are re-assessing the market.”

Aussie is one of Australia’s largest non-bank providers of financial services and has a loan book of more than $30 billion.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Channel Nine has announced an Australian version of The Apprentice will be made, to be fronted by Wizard Finance creator Mark Bouris.   donald_trump_story

To be produced by FremantleMedia Australia, it’s a surprising move given the franchise is now several years old and hardly considered “hot property” anymore. It’s been some time since we’ve seen The Trump on free-to-air, and even Seven’s attempt at the UK Apprentice, with Alan Sugar, didn’t exactly light up our screens either.

So can a local version work? FremantleMedia at least has a good track record at Australian adaptations of international series, including MasterChef Australia, Australian Idol, The Biggest Loser and Project Runway Australia.

Nine also found that its local version of Ladette to Lady did quite nicely, thank you. But in this game there are no guarantees.  Neither Australian Survivor or Celebrity Survivor, which like this format are both Mark Burnett franchises, worked in Australia.

It will also be risky launching a show that has succeeded with its wealthy excess in a time of recession.  But most reality shows hinge on their casting. Mark Bouris is offering the winner of the local series an executive position in his financial-services firm company, Yellow Brick Road on a cool six-figure salary.

To be part of my team you will need to understand the concept that everyone has financial dreams, and that this is something that all Australians are entitled to, he says. “In many cases owning your own home and a comfortable retirement is ultimately what people want. For me empathy is really important and I’m not interested in an apprentice who only wants to look after the top end of the financial spectrum.  Being in my team means that you will want to help both.”

If you are aged 18 and over from August 1st and available for filming from July to September then you’ve met the first two criteria for auditions. You can apply for the show until Friday July 3rd at www.ninemsn.com.au/apprentice.

The show is due to screen later this year.

Source  :  http://www.tv.com/story/15621.html

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