Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison addressed registered migration agents on the government’s core focus areas:

  1. Operation Sovereign Borders – a policy designed to stop people smuggling and protect Australia’s shores.
  2. The delivery of visa services.
  3. Australia’s “genuine need” for skilled workers, and consequent need to be able to sponsor skilled workers from overseas.
  4. The need to attract migrants who will “add value” to the country.

The Minister added that the purpose of Australia’s immigration program is, and always has been, economic rather than social, with the majority of migrants – about 68 per cent – entering the country under the Permanent Skilled Program.

He went on to say the immigration program cannot be successful “without the strong support of the Australian people”.

While many have questioned the number of migrants coming to the country over the past few years, Mr Morrison explained that “those who had come had the skills to find employment”.

Australia’s success as a multi-ethnic nation, he said, “is based fundamentally on our commitment to the economic participation of migrants at all levels”.

Zeke Bentley, Principal migration lawyer of The Migration Place, said the governments assurances that it would continue to focus on the skilled visa program is welcome: “I hope the government fulfils these assurances and does not allow itself to be distracted by the boat people political sideshow– ultimately the governments most important role should be running an efficient and effective migration program to attract the World’s most skilled and economically able migrants.”