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Victoria a hot spot for foreign spouses

DECEMBER 26, 2013 8:00PM

ALMOST 12,000 Victorians secured residency visas for their spouses and partners from overseas last year, new figures show.

More than 2000 Indians, 1245 Chinese and about 1000 UK-born migrants were among 11,840 people to get partner visas in 2012-13.

The total number for Australia was more than 46,000, including people in gay relationships, said the Federal Government’s latest State and Territory Migration Summary Report.

Partners comprised nearly 80 per cent of all family reunion visas while most of the balance was made up by overseas parents joining their children in Australia.

Victoria had a total of 60,430 permanent additions in 2012-13, including 41,000 settler arrivals and 19,500 foreigners already living here who were given permanent residency.

The report revealed that almost 60 per cent of all settler arrivals were Asian-born, led by Chinese, Indians and Sri Lankans.

Only 10 per cent of arrivals were European-born while 8 per cent came from North

Africa and the Middle East.

Maverick Victorian Labor MP Kelvin Thomson called for skilled migration to be slashed to save Australian jobs.

Mr Thomson said that with national unemployment now over 700,000, the argument that Australia needed to import more workers for economic reasons was false.

“The latest unemployment rise, along with the certainty of job losses at Holden, Ford and Qantas, and projections that the resources industry construction workforce will collapse over the next four years, shedding more than 78,000 jobs by 2018, make this clear,” he said.

The jobless rate in Dandenong has hit 13 per cent, while Broadmeadows and Sunshine have rates of 11.6 per cent, according to the latest data.

Mr Thomson said Australia should slash permanent skilled migration and temporary schemes such as the 457 program to the levels of 10 or 20 years ago.

“That way the jobs that will be created in the next five years will go to Australians who are out of work or who face losing their jobs,” he said.

Mr Thomson, who voluntarily went to the backbench after September’s federal election, has set up a grassroots lobby group called Victoria First to fight high immigration and call for more sustainable environmental and urban policies.

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