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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Study: Migration boosts Australian economy, eases skills shortage

According to a press release by Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans, a recent report by Access Economics shows that new immigrants in Australia contribrute hundreds of millions of Australian dollars to the nation's budget and economy every year.

Evans stated in a speech before the Australian Mines and Metals Association that the overall fiscal benefit of immigration is "substantially positive" and it continues to grow over time.

The economic analyst's report entitled Migrant Fiscal Impact Model: 2008 Update looked at the costs that immigrants impose on health, education, welfare, employment services, and settlement services, compared to the fiscal benefits from taxation and visa charges.

For the 2006-07 fiscal immigration year, Access Economics estimated that that years immigrants would contribrute a total benefit of AUD $536 million in the first year, then another AUD $856 million in the second year. This would grow steadily over time and reach AUD $1.5 billion by year 20.

"Applying the same modelling to the 2007-08 migration program, the net fiscal benefit is $610 million in year one, $965 million in year two then growing to $1.5 billion by year 20," Evans noted.

"The forecast for the 2008-09 migration program is for an $829 million benefit in the first year, $1.16 billion in the second year, then $1.8 billion by year 20," he added.

Evans said the Access Economics report dispelled the myth that immigrants impose a huge cost on the taxpayer.

"The positive fiscal impact is particularly pronounced for skilled migrants, which reflects their high rate of labour market participation and higher incomes which in turn leads to a high level of direct tax receipts," Evans said.

Australia's General Skilled Migration program allows individuals to immigrate to Australia if they possess skills and past experience in a large list of occupations.

Evans also said that skilled migrants help Australian employers fill "critical labor gaps" at a time when many employers are struggling to fill positions.

"The bottom line is that our migration program is vital to keep the economy growing as well as helping Australian businesses overcome skills and labor shortages," he added. "Australia is facing a demographic shift that will see more people retire than join the workforce so the permanent skilled migration program provides a stable, effective and targeted source of skilled workers."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Overseas students flout work restrictions

INTERNATIONAL students are making a mockery of immigration laws by flouting visa conditions which limit them to 20-hour working weeks, with those driving taxis in Victoria clocking up to twice as many hours behind the wheel as they're allowed.

Despite a warning from Immigration Minister Chris Evans that taxi owners who employed students in breach of their visa restrictions risked up to two years' jail, cab advocacy bodies and student drivers revealed the industry was largely ignoring the law.

Student bodies have urged the Rudd Government to lift the 20-hour cap, saying overseas pupils should be entitled to juggle their academic commitments with as many hours of work as they can manage.

The Australian understands the Howard government planned to target Victorian taxi businesses as a first step in a national crackdown on students who were rorting the employment restrictions of their visas.

Victorian Taxi Drivers Association secretary Thomas Henderson, whose organisation represents the interests of both driver and owner members, admitted some holders of student visas were clocking up to 40 hours a week on the road.

Read on

The Australian