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16,000 Indians seek to make Aus home

india Updated: Aug 17, 2007 11:38 IST

IANS
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As many as 15,865 Indians sought permanent residence in Australia under the skilled migration programme in 2006-2007, making them the second largest group in the category after Britons.

The figure seems to belie fears that freed terror suspect Muhammad Haneef's case would deter prospective Indians from making Australia their home.

Partha Mukherjee, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, came to Australia three years ago with his wife under the skilled migrant programme.

He says, "I had power, position and wealth in Mumbai, but chose to migrate to Sydney for the quality of life this country offers. I wanted a balanced work and family life." Mukherjee works as an engineering consultant and teaches international business at the university.

However, his three children are doing their schooling and college in India. He says, "I feel if you really want to achieve high, India and the United States offer more opportunities for success."

India ranks second amongst the top five countries of origin for skilled stream entrants. Britain leads the way with 24,800 skilled migrants coming Down Under, followed by India (15,865), China (14,688), South Africa (4,293) and Malaysia (3,838).

Despite steady economic growth for the last decade or so, Australia is facing a serious skills shortage with the ageing workforce retiring in greater numbers.

The top occupation for skilled stream entrants is accountancy (10,688), followed by computing professionals (4,044) and registered nurses (2,088). Other top professions included mechanical engineers, civil engineers, marketing specialists and general managers.

A growing number of people also want to bring their spouses back to Australia and form a family and live here. A total of 50,079 family stream visas were granted for the year, representing 33 percent of the total migration programme.

For instance, Mamta, 29, came to Australia last year on a spouse visa, which she got six months after getting married. Her husband, an electrical engineer, had come to Sydney four years ago under the skilled migrant programme.

India ranks third with 3,634 migrants coming here under the family stream. Britain once again leads with 6,540 family stream entrants followed by China (6,037), Philippines (3,098) and Vietnam (3,040).

Joe Hockey, the federal minister for employment and workplace relations noted, "The inclusion of architects and quantity surveyors among Migration Occupations in the Demand List (MODL) will be welcomed by employers, particularly those in the resources and construction industries.

"Changes to the MODL will also benefit Australia's international competitiveness as a provider of high quality aircraft maintenance and servicing."

The MODL includes 38 managerial and professional occupations, one associate professional occupation, 10 computing specialisations and 46 trade occupations. Occupations and specialisations identified on the MODL gain extra points for people applying for a points-tested General Skilled Migration visa.

The average age of skilled stream entrants (primary) is 31 years. Out of a total of 148,200 permanent visas granted during 2006-07, 97,920 were permanent skilled visas, representing 66 percent of the total migration programme.

Australia is competing for skilled workers with other developed countries in Europe, the US, Canada and New Zealand.