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The latest statistics confirm Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) level is on track to drop by about 20 per cent by the end of the financial year in response to government reforms to temporary and permanent migration and economic conditions, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.

Preliminary estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) ‘Social Trends’ series show the level of NOM in 2008 was 301 200 people and fell to 277 700 people in 2009.

‘Based on current visa application numbers, the level of NOM is on track to drop to between 230 000 and 250 000 people by the end of the financial year,’ Senator Evans said.

‘This confirms that record high population growth has been fuelled by growth in temporary long-stay migrants, especially students, as a result of the policies of the previous coalition government.’

Senator Evans said net overseas migration began to climb and get out of control under the previous government, as a result of its decision to open up pathways for temporary residents—particularly students—to remain in Australia permanently.

In response to the ABS report’s findings, Senator Evans said the level of NOM—which includes both permanent migrants and long-term temporary migrants, including students—had peaked and was clearly on the way down.

‘The government is committed to ongoing forward-planning and reform to ensure immigration levels are guided by Australia’s needs and not by the desire of prospective migrants to come to Australia,’ Senator Evans said.

‘Prime Minister Gillard has already articulated her vision for a sustainable population—one that supports our environment and our renewable resources and that is in turn supported by proper resources and infrastructure.’

The government will develop policies to ensure all Australians benefit from our strong and growing economy.’

Source  :  http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2010/ce10055.htm

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Australia’s demand for IT support staff is currently soaring, promising potential applicants with faster immigration process. IT workers are at an advantage with Australia’s visa system, wherein applicants are categorized by points and are classified by age, language, skill, occupation and experience.                                                                          IT
 
According to the Australian Visa Bureau, over 23,000  UK citizens have migrated to Australia.
 
Australian Visa Bureau director Guy Bradley said, “As many IT professionals have critical skills needed throughout Australia, and/or are on specific state and territory sponsored lists, the government will fast-track them through the skilled migration process, and process their visas as a matter of priority.”
 
“Of course the lure of the glittering beaches, open spaces, and high quality of life down under will never be overlooked, but Australia is increasingly attractive to emigrants because it looks to be pulling out of the global recession sooner than Britain,” Bradley added.
 
IT positions needed require expertise in data warehousing, C++, C and C#, risk management, e-commerce security, SAP, Siebel, .Net, Cobol, Unix, Java, SQL Server, networking LAN/WAN and IT project management.
 

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From 1 July 2009, there will be changes to how certain types of income affect eligibility for the CSHC. Depending on your circumstances, these changes may impact on your eligibility for a CSHC and you may be required to provide additional information about your income to Centrelink.

The adjusted taxable income test for CSHC will include:

  • assessment of total net investment losses. Total net investment losses are the sum of net losses from rental property income and net losses from financial investment income, and
  • subject to the passage of legislation, reportable superannuation contributions may be included in the adjusted taxable income test for CSHC. Reportable superannuation contributions are discretionary or voluntary contributions, for example salary sacrifice contribution and personal deductible contributions. 

Note: losses from rental properties are already included in assessable income for CSHC. From 1 July 2009, the adjustable taxable income test will also include losses from.

Source  :  http://www.centrelink.com.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/conc_cards_cshc.htm

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The strategy :  To work out how the changes to the health insurance rebate affect me.

I suppose it means I’ll be paying more for my health insurance. That’s the gist of it though it will depend on whether Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull delivers on his threat to block the legislation. As you may have picked up from the federal budget, the Government needs to find savings to fund higher pension payments.

One proposed measure is means testing the health insurance rebate, which currently allows you to claim a tax rebate of 30 per cent of the cost of your health insurance if you’re aged under 65, 35per cent if you’re 65 to 69 and 40 per cent if you’re 70 or older.

Most people ask their health fund to reduce their premiums to take account of the rebate rather than paying the full premium and claiming the rebate in their tax return. For someone under 65, a monthly insurance premium of $250 could be reduced to $175. That won’t change if you earn up to $75,000 if you’re single and $150,000 for families. But if your income is higher, your rebate will be reduced or cut out altogether.

How will that work? Let’s look at singles first. If you earn $75,001-$90,000, your rebate will be reduced to 20 per cent. If you earn $90,001-$120,000, the new rebate will be 10 per cent.

Once your income exceeds $120,000 you will be ineligible for the rebate.

For families, the combined income limits are $150,001-$180,000 for the 20per cent rebate, $180,001-$240,000 for the 10 per cent rebate and the rebate will disappear altogether once family income exceeds $240,000.

All income thresholds will be indexed to wages and will be adjusted for families with one child in the same way that thresholds are already adjusted for determining whether you have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge if you don’t have private health cover. The threshold is currently lifted by $1500 for each dependent child.

The Government says the definition of your income for the rebate will be the same as for the Medicare levy surcharge. Challenger’s head of technical services, Alex Denham, says this definition is changing from July 1 to include your taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, salary sacrificed to super or any personal deductible super contributions made and net investment losses. So higher-income earners won’t be able to use strategies such as salary sacrifice to get or increase their rebate.

Would I be better off dropping my health insurance and paying the Medicare levy surcharge? The proposed measures also include a rise in this surcharge precisely to stop this sort of behaviour.

The 1 per cent surcharge will rise to 1.25per cent once income exceeds $90,000 for singles or $180,000 for couples and to 1.5 per cent for incomes exceeding $120,000 or $240,000. That extra tax may cancel out any savings from dropping your health cover.

MLC’s head of technical services, Andrew Lawless, says a better option may be to make changes to your policy, such as increasing the excess you pay before claiming on the cover or reducing cover on ancillary benefits. However, to avoid the surcharge you must have hospital cover with an excess of $500 or less for singles or $1000 or less for families or couples per calendar year.

When will the changes come in? Not until July 1 next year, so you have time to check the final details if the measures are passed and weigh up your options.

It’s worth noting that the Medicare levy surcharge income limits will be indexed from their current levels of $70,000 for singles and $140,000 for couples to the new $75,000 and $150,000 levels at this time.

Source : www.watoday.com.au

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Fertility doctors are worried they will be under pressure to implant multiple embryos into women who cannot afford ongoing treatment due to new financial safety net caps, a leading IVF specialist says

Having two embryos implanted into the uterus instead of one raises a woman’s chance of having a multiple birth, says IVF Australia chairman Professor Michael Chapman.

As part of Medicare Safety Net restrictions unveiled in Tuesday’s budget, payments for IVF will be capped at different rates for each stage of treatment once a person reaches the safety net threshold for out-of-pocket medical expenses, which is $1,111.60, or $555.70 for those on low incomes.
This could hit women with an extra $1,500 to $2,000 of out-of-pocket costs per IVF cycle.

There are also caps on safety net payments in other areas including obstetrics, varicose vein and cataract surgery.                                                        embryo

Under the changes, pregnant women who choose to see a private obstetrician will be out of pocket by $550 unless doctors lower their fees.

“That is why the government is urging women to question their doctors about their fees,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

An average of $4.5 million of taxpayers’ money is paid to the top 10 per cent of IVF specialists each year.

But Prof Chapman said the government, which says it wants to crack down on specialists who charge exorbitant fees, was using the figures for political gain.

“For every doctor that gets money, there are 10 staff members, the scientists, counsellors and nurses, they get funded through the rebate,” he told AAP.

Prof Chapman said he accepted there had been a 40 per cent rise in IVF fees over the past five years but said that it was in line with general medical inflation.

Current Medicare rebates, which work out to about $4,200 per child, go towards employing about 2,000 people in private IVF clinics nationally and investing in research and facilities, Prof Chapman said.

He estimated out-of-pocket costs for patients would rise from $1,600 to between $3,000 and $3,500 when the safety net caps come into effect on July 1, 2010.

It can often take more than one IVF cycle for a woman to fall pregnant.

“Certainly, patients are going to be more out of pocket for IVF than they have been in the past,” Prof Chapman said.

He warned doctors would be under pressure to implant more than one embryo per cycle into women as a result of safety net restrictions, increasing the chance of multiple births.

“Over the last five years in Australia the twin rate has dropped dramatically because we have been able to put one embryo back,” he said.

“But if patients think they won’t be able to afford the next cycle they will put a lot of pressure on the doctor to put two embryos back.”

Ms Roxon said her department would work with medical professionals to restructure the system to better reflect stages in a treatment cycle.
www.sbs.com.au

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