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PA/14/12 2 May 2012
Australian Minister says migration will help build the relationship between Australia and India
Australia’s Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, says migration between Australia and India will help both countries respond to the economic, social and demographic transformations taking place in India, Australia and the region more broadly.
Addressing senior Indian and Australian business representatives, government officials and the media at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry today (2 May), Minister Bowen said, “Our [Australia and India] interests are converging like never before. This is being driven by trade complementarity, rising investment, common geo strategic outlooks and closer multilateral cooperation. It is also driven by significant business relationships, rich people-to-people links and a common heritage that will continue to bring our two countries closer together.”
The Minister said “Education presents one of the most valuable opportunities for both countries to lay the foundation for an enduring partnership. It presents enormous opportunities to deepen collaboration between institutions across the education and training sectors, business and industry, and our governments.”
Mr Bowen added that the “contribution Indian migrants and their offspring have made to Australian society and to our economy cannot be overstated. The Indian diaspora brings a great richness to Australian society as a whole.”
Mr Bowen said the “2011-12 figures to date show India is the largest source of permanent migrants to Australia, ahead of both the UK and China.”
As of June 2010, there were 340 600 India-born people living in Australia, equivalent to 5.7 per cent of Australia’s overseas born population.
Mr Bowen’s address at FICCI was one element in a two-day visit to Delhi. Mr Bowen met a number of senior Indian Ministers including Home Affairs Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, and Minister for Human Resource Development and Education, Mr Kapil Sibal. The focus of talks included migration opportunities between India and Australia and our shared interests in promoting greater regional cooperation on border management.
Mr Bowen also emphasised the value Australia placed on the participation of Indian students in Australia’s student visa program and higher education sector. He provided an update on the recent changes to Australia’s student visa program coming out of the Knight Review, and highlighted the benefits to Indian applicants under the new streamlined visa arrangements.
Mr Bowen will also meet with India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi, to take forward shared interests in the welfare of Indian nationals in Australia and progress discussions on a mobility partnership on people movements between Australia and India.
For media enquiries: Mr Shekhar Nambiar 41399900, ext 251.
Minister Bowen at the FICCI interactive meeting in New Delhi on 2 May 2012.