Australia reduces immigration quota (temporarily)

March 23, 2009

Australia will reduce the number of visas issued to skilled migrants for the first time in 10 years. The skilled visa intake will be cut by 14%, to 115,000 this year as the global financial crisis puts pressure on the labour market.

"Australia still needs to maintain a skilled migration program but one that is more targeted so that migrant workers are meeting skills shortages and not competing with locals for jobs", Chris Evans said.

To curb job losses, the government will spend A$42 billion on cash handouts to households and on infrastructure. The central bank last month cut its benchmark lending rate to a 45 year low of 3.25%.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's package announced in February aims to create 90,000 jobs in the next 18 months while a A$10.4 billion stimulus announced in October would create 70,000 jobs, according to the government.