Oz tightens immigration rules but new skills list won’t be ready for months

by Ray Clancy on February 9, 2010

Australia has tightened its migration rules in favour of English speakers and professionals,  saying the country has been attracting too many hairdressers and cooks and too few doctors and engineers, it was announced yesterday.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans blamed the over-representation of lower skilled immigrants on a system put in place by Prime Minister John Howard, whose government lost power in 2007 elections.

‘Under the Howard government, we had a lot of cooks, a lot of hairdressers coming through. We were taking hairdressers from overseas in front of doctors and nurses, it didn’t make any sense,’ said Evans.

‘This will make a permanent difference so that Australia is able to choose who migrates to this country, based on whether they’re going to make a contribution. If they don’t have the English-language skills, don’t have the trade skills and can’t get a job they shouldn’t be eligible for permanent residency,’ he added.

Now up to 20,000 visas could be for foreign nationals who have been staying in the country under the existing skilled migration programme which identifies occupations in demand and awards points on the basis of professional qualifications of the applicants.

State governments will be asked to develop new migration plans and a new list will be prepared to define occupations in demand in the country. The government will also set a maximum number of visas for a single occupation.

But the new list will not be available until April and the change in rules could affect general skilled migration claims lodged before September 2007. Refunding 20,000 visa applications will cost taxpayers about $14 million. Evans said, however, that transitional arrangements will be put in place for such applicants until 2012.

Foreign students who have a qualification for an occupation no longer considered in demand will get to apply for a temporary 18 month visa, allowing them to gain work experience. But if foreign graduates fail to find an employer willing to sponsor their applications, they will have to return to their country of origin.

Evans also said the change will hopefully stamp out an increasing number of unscrupulous migration agents. ‘They have been misleading many international students into believing that a course in Australia will give them an automatic entitlement to permanent residence. It does not and it will not,’ he declared.

The minister, however, added that the government supports skilled migration and continues to want migrants. ‘Be they from India, the United Kingdom or China, our three largest source countries or elsewhere. We want skilled migrants on terms that work both for Australia and for the migrants themselves. We need a programme with integrity and direction,’ Evans said.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nigel hickey February 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

dear ex pats i am thinking of applying to emmigrate to perth, my main worry is a job .i do telephone sales for charities, is anyone out there doing this sort of work or is it uk type job. any advice would be helpful.


vishnu March 18, 2010 at 5:13 am

hi..please could you help me to know about PR there??any new rules and violations for PR??
I want to do my postgraduate degree in Australia..and also i want to stay there and work for some more years in Australia..so kindly mail me information about PR….Thank You..


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