Australia will reduce its skilled migration intake by 14 per cent this year in an attempt to stem competition for local jobs, Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans said on Monday.
The move will see the skilled migration program intake in 2008-2009 cut from 133,500 to 115,000, with jobs in the construction industry largely affected by the decision.
“Clearly, the economic circumstances in Australia have changed as a result of the global financial crisis so it is prudent to reduce this year’s migration intake accordingly,” Evans said in a statement.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in Australia rose from 4.8 per cent in January to 5.2 per cent in February, the highest level in four years and worse than earlier expected.
Evans said that although critical skills shortages remain in the health, engineering and information technology fields, the government was acting to protect local jobs.