Recent data reveals that cooks received more skilled visas to enter Australia last year than any other occupation.
The figures show that in the 2012/13 migration year, more than 8,000 cooks were granted permanent resident visas through the country’s SkillSelect system, followed by 5,700 accountants, 2,160 software engineers, 1,550 IT business analysts and 1,500 hairdressers.
The revelation that so many cooks and hairdressers have been awarded skilled visas over the past year has caused some experts to criticise the system, believing that the programme is not attracting migrants to help fill critical skill needs, particularly in regional areas – the programme’s stated aim.
According to Monash University migration expert Bob Birrell the spike in visas for cooks and hairdressers has been caused by allowing former foreign students who were living in Australia to apply for permanent residency.
The figures found that approximately 129,000 people entered Australia as a skilled immigrant in 2012/13, with almost half of these newcomers hailing from either India or China. The UK was the country’s third largest source of new arrivals, with 21,711 Brits setting up home in Oz – down 14.1 per cent on the 2011/12 migration year figure.