Australia set to lure Asia workforce

Gillard

Riding on an ambitious plan to tap Asian region, Australia is all set to woo highly skilled population from the region including in India in a bid to create an educated, productive work force to boost its economy.

According to minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen, the government in its 'Asian Century White Paper' released yesterday, has highlighted the opportunities for the nation's growth by building deeper and stronger links with Asian region.

"Even with the government's unprecedented investment in tertiary education and up- killing Australians, we need migrants who bring their specialist skills to Australia," he said.

Seven of the top 10 source countries in Australia's 2011-12 migration programme are in the Asian region: India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Indian sub-continent is Australia's largest source region of migrants, providing 23 per cent of the migration program, while 18.3 per cent of migrants come from the north of Asia.

"More than a quarter of our nation's migrants were born in an Asian nation and nearly 1.5 million Australians are fluent in one or more Asian languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Hindi, Punjabi, Indonesian, Korean, Tagalog and Japanese," Bowen said.

"This means that Australia is uniquely placed to strengthen ties with Asian nations." So the country is "increasingly looking to Asia for skilled migrants who are crucial to the nation's economy and the development of business opportunities in the region", he said.

With Tourism as one of the focus, it was said that new streamlined visa processes will encourage more people from the region to consider Australia as a destination of choice.

"We are making it easier than ever for tourists from the Asian region to visit Australia and contribute to our economic and cultural growth," Bowen said.

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