Australia to increase skilled migrant visas

Melbourne: Australian government plans to increase visas in skilled migrant category that was targeted by cookery and hairdressing students by almost 30 per cent under its 2011-12 migration programme.
The program projected over 29.6 per cent increase in independent skilled migrants, lifting the number of places to 44,350.
The government had been scrutinising this category after visa grants scam to low-skilled overseas students came into light.
Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said that the extra spots were good news for former overseas students waiting for a decision on migration applications.
The government said the queue had shortened from 150,000-plus in May last year to just below 132,000 in April this year.
A tougher points test emphasising advanced skills and superior English starts on July 1.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen spokesperson said it would take time for applicants under the new points test to make their presence felt in the system. (PTI)