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May 2000, Volume 7, Number 5


Australia is increasing its immigration intake in 2000-01 by 15,000, providing an extra 5,000 slots for professionals with training in information technology, nursing and accounting. Another 5,000 places are available to state and territory governments if they can lure people to regional areas or attract them under employer-nominated schemes. Finally, 4,000 slots would be made available to people prepared to pay a social security bond of A$10,000 and an extra A$4,000 for each parent they want to sponsor for immigration.

Some 84,100 foreigners migrated permanently to Australia in 1998-99, including 22 percent from New Zealand; 10 percent from the UK; seven percent from China; six percent from South Africa; and four percent each from the Philippines and the former Yugoslavia. Some 35,181 Australians emigrated in 1998-99, mostly young professionals who went to Britain, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong or Singapore.

The Liberal Party is pressing the government to develop a population policy that would include consideration of environmental, economic, immigration and demographic factors in setting immigration policy. The Liberal Party debated the adoption of a population resolution during the Liberal Federal Council in Melbourne on April 15. Prime Minister Howard has said that his government opposes a population policy.

A three-year old boy who was born to Chinese parents in an Australian detention center has won the right to stay in the country. The High Court ruled on March 13, 2000 that Shi Hai Chen must be granted refugee status, overturning an April 1999 decision by another court. The ruling concluded that the boy would face persecution in China because he was a "black" child, a term used for a child born outside China's one-child policy or those born out of wedlock, and the severe disadvantage the boy would suffer in China would "deny the appellant basic entitlements enjoyed by other children in the China and fundamental rights internationally enshrined in standards accepted as universal and basic, including in Australia."

The Australian government said that the parents will definitely be able to stay because of a government policy to keep families together. The family will also be able to bring their daughter, who was left behind in China, to Australia, although the Chinese authorities would have to approve her emigration.

Kosovars. Some 100 Kosovars who refused to leave Australia voluntarily were deported in April 2000. The refugees were flown to Skopje and then the UN took them by bus to Pristina and then onto other towns and villages. The departures followed a week of tension at Bandiana, during which the facility was reclassified as a detention center after the refugees refused to return to Kosovo. Twelve of those scheduled for deportation refused to return to Kosovar and were sent to a detention center in Western Australia. The International Organization for Migration, who runs a major program to return the Kosovars, said that all the returns were voluntary and that no one was forcibly repatriated.

Australia took in about 4,000 Kosovo refugees in 1999.

Illegal Immigrants. A boat heading to Australia from Indonesia in March disappeared and the 220 illegal immigrants on board were feared drowned. Australian authorities are closely watching the Christmas Islands region, but the government does not believe that the boat reached Australian waters. Earlier in the month, 57 suspected illegal immigrants and four crew were rescued from their sinking boat off Australia's northwest coast. That boat was the 15th detected in 2000.

"High court says child of illegal immigrants can stay in Aust.," AAP Newsfeed, April 13, 2000.