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The contents of this article are correct as at 12 August 2008 

The Australian Government has reaffirmed its commitment to attracting highly skilled migrants to Australia with a substantial increase to the General Skilled Migration Scheme (GSM) quota for the 2008-2009 financial year.

The Government has announced an additional 31,000 GSM places in the overall Australian migration intake as part of its 2008-2009 Federal Budget.

This represents a 30 per cent increase in GSM places from the 2007-2008 financial year, taking the total number to 133,500 per year.

The increase is also part of the largest annual increase in the overall migration intake since 1948, to a total of 190,300 migrant places per year.

The General Skilled Migration scheme provides permanent residency for highly skilled and qualified young people with good English abilities. It encourages the migration to Australia of people whose skills are in demand in Australia and provides incentives for those willing to migrate to regional areas.

According to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, research has shown that the labour market participation for permanent skilled migrants is now over 90 per cent.

At the time of writing, the requirements for GSM residency will remain unchanged for the 2008-2009 financial year.