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Migrants boost cafes, classrooms

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Canberra's cafes and classrooms are benefiting from an influx of skilled migrants under a federal government program.

The number of overseas university lecturers coming to the ACT jumped from 20 to 30 last year, cafe and restaurant managers rose from fewer than five to 10, but the number of nurses slumped from 100 to 20.

The trend for foreign recruits in accommodation and food services is also reflected across the nation, according to figures released on Sunday. Cooks topped the list, with 1250 coming to Australia in the year to last November.

The breakdown of migrants entering under the 457 category confirms a slowdown in the mining and construction industry in Western Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship granted 390 of the 400 applications by ACT employers to import skilled workers. On broader occupation categories, the number of managers from overseas starting work in the ACT rose from 40 to 60, technicians and trades workers increased from 50 to 70 while ''professionals'' dived from 450 to 250.

The number of skilled migrants arriving in Canberra from India dropped from 130 to 70 while those from Britain fell from 110 to 50. The entrants from China doubled, from 20 to 40. Ross Peake

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