US immigration bill rattles Aussies

Via DNAIndia.com
06/19/2006

MELBOURNE:
Australia’s problem of skill workers  shortage would take another blow
if the US proposal to increase the migrant intake is implemented,
experts have warned. Australian policy makers and experts have
expressed  fears that the US would lure away the best of the skilled 
workforce away from the South Pacific country.

The US Senate has recently passed a Bill to increase annual
employment-based migration from 140,000 to a whopping 650,000. If the
proposals are approved by the US lower house, the maximum limit on the
high-skilled H1-B working visas would jump from 65,000 a year to
115,000. This would  direct skilled migrants’ movement away from
countries  like Australia.

The booming Australian economy is feeling the skills crunch as the
insatiable Chinese demand for its resources  is not showing any sign of
petering out in the near  future. Indian demand for Australian
resources is also on  the rise and would ensure the Australian
economic  prosperity for years to come. The Senate Bill to increase the
migrant intake reportedly  also includes proposal to allow
international students in  the US to be given work and residency rights
after they  complete their studies. 

These proposals have alarmed Bob Birrell, Director of  the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash  University here.

“There’s already significant competition for skilled migrants,
especially persons who have work experience in skills relevant to an
advanced economy like that of Australia or the United States,” Dr
Birrell told The Age newspaper recently. “There’s already a problem and
if the US upped its level to 600,000, then it would make it
considerably more difficult,” he said.    The Age newspaper has also
quoted an American expert in stressing the point that Australian and
the US skill  shortage is bound to come worse as the traditional 
sources of skilled migrants like India are also keeping  their
brightest at home.

“The situation in India has radically changed. It is no longer a
must that to be successful you have to leave India,” the American
expert was quoted as saying.

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