08 Feb 2010 11:07 AM
|Crackdown on skilled migrants KATHARINE MURPHY
February 7, 2010
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.ABOUT 20,000 people will have their visa applications cancelled as the Rudd government launches a crackdown in the skilled migration program.
In a move likely to inflame political sensitivities over the treatment of Indian students, the government is expected to deny migrants any opportunity of achieving ''back door'' permanent residency through the skilled migration scheme.
The changes to be unveiled today will see 20,000 current applications binned an overhaul of the queueing system that identifies occupations in demand and creates a points system and state governments will be asked to develop new migration plans.
The Immigration Minister will also gain new legal authority to set a maximum number of visas for a single occupation.
The cancelled applications apply to all offshore general skilled migration claims lodged before September 2007. Refunding 20,000 visa applications will cost taxpayers about $14 million.
Given the changes could have a significant impact on many foreign students already in Australia, the government will introduce transitional arrangements to apply 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.
The 18 months will also give a foreign graduate time in which to find an employer willing to sponsor their application as a skilled migrant.
If they are unsuccessful in that attempt, they will have to return to their country of origin.
The overhaul of the system will set a new list of occupations in demand.
The new system is expected to favour skilled workers including nurses, general medical practitioners, mechanical engineers and teachers instead of groups such as cooks and hairdressers.
Employers are supportive. Yesterday, Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said: ''The changes should result in a better connect between permanent residency and addressing Australia's critical skills needs.''
In a frank speech to be delivered this morning, Immigration Minister Chris Evans will argue that the skilled migration program has not been working in Australia's economic or demographic interests.
''The program has been delivering self-nominated migrants from a narrow range of occupations with poor to moderate English language skills who struggle to find employment in their nominated occupation,'' Senator Evans will argue.
Senator Evans will acknowledge the impact of the changes on foreign students, but argue they can still gain residency if they gain qualifications in professions that are in demand.
He said the current tensions and misunderstandings have been made worse by unscrupulous migration agents.
''[These agents] have been misleading many international students into believing that a course in Australia gave them an automatic entitlement to permanent residence,'' Senator Evans said. ''It does not, and it will not.''
Senator Evans will also argue 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 program with integrity and direction.''
08 Feb 2010 3:33 PM
08 Feb 2010 7:30 PM
|Come here, there's more....
09 Feb 2010 1:45 AM
|Before anyone slits their wrists....there is another list due out mid year. This came from a migration attorney we spoke to today.
A word of warning here...the rules have changed (again). It used to be (until November 2009) that you could get a visa based on more than 50% of you family living in Australia. NO LONGER. Now 100% of your remaining family must live here before you will be considered.
Are we immigrants or aliens? Perhaps we should push our (willing taxpayer) families into leaking boats in Freemantle and have them picked up offshore by Border Patrol - and even get onto international television - just to make a point. Hey, it works for some who have no desire to contribute to the economy.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but many of us are paying already!|
09 Feb 2010 11:14 AM
Can you please advise where I can read more about 100% of your family now needing to be in Australia?
Just last week, I called immigration regarding my parents visa application and they are still quoting that only 50% of your family must be in Australia.
I just sent off the Parent Visa 103 application to immigration on Friday, so I really don't want to find out now that 100% of family must be here.
I will try calling immigration today, but no doubt their phones will be very busy.
09 Feb 2010 11:35 AM
|Before you panic...
My daughter (age 26) came out on a work/holiday visa for 12 months with the option of doing regional work for 3 months in order to get an extension for a further 12 months.
SHe has now been here a year, and has done the 3 months regional work on a sheepstation in South Australia. She went to see an immigration attorney last Monday to start her visa process. He told her that because she still has a father in South Africa, she is not eligible to migrate on the grounds that her Mother and only brother live here. Her only option is to become an international student, study for 3 years for a degree (which we pay for) and then apply again. IF at that time, her skills are required she may/may not be accepted! With the skills list changing so drastically, what are her chances?? We confirmed this with the agent in South Africa who did our application two years ago.
According to the attorney, he has another client who was abandoned by his father at age 2 and he has never seen him since, but because the father is still alive in the UK, he cannot get in either.
I do not know if the same applies for Parent Visas or any other classes, or if these rules are only for people seeking employment.
For your sake, and the sakes of others trying to get rellies here, I hope not. It has been a major blow for us.
09 Feb 2010 1:02 PM
Thanks for your quick reply.
I am going to assume that our case is more straight forward - we are basically applying for both my parents to migrate to Australia and 50% of their children live here, so we meet the basic family balance test.
Very sorry to hear about your situation. It must be devasting to find all this out and as you say, the skills visas change so drastically and so often at the moment, that you wouldn't know what to do for the best. I hope that there is some way that this can all be resolved for you.