Australia recently announced a 10-year migration plan that will focus on altering the immigration system. This plan is intended to cut down on immigration numbers and make stricter rules for international students. With a primary focus on enhancing the integrity and calibre of international education, the plan attempts to rectify what has been called a “broken” system.
The Migration Plan’s Primary Changes
1. Revamping Visa Pathways
The plan revolves around a fundamental change in visa pathways. A new ‘Skills in Demand’ visa will take over the current ‘temporary skills shortage’ visa. This new visa will include the following three sub-categories:
- Specialist Skills Visa Pathway
This targets highly skilled workers, especially from industries such as technology and green energy.
- Core Skills Visa Pathway
Target applicants who are on the Core Skills Occupation list of essential professions for the country in order to adjust to the shifting demands of the labour market.
- Essential Skills Pathway
Targeting labour jobs with worker shortages and low-income roles.
2. Action Against Visa Misuse and Exploitation
The plan introduces a roadmap to enforce stricter adherence to the visa process in order to combat migrant worker exploitation and misuse of the visa system. This entails the creation of a home affairs student visa integrity unit as a commitment to securing the rights of migrant workers.
3. Strict English Language Testing
This is a change brought forward in order to ensure that foreign students are in Australia for genuine educational purposes. The IELTS requirement score will be increased from 5.5 to 6.0 for student visas and 6.5 for graduate visas.
4. Managing ‘Visa Hopping’
‘Visa Hopping’ is a term used when students reapply for studies or change their courses with the intention of extending their stay while taking on unskilled work. According to this new plan, students who are labelled as potential ‘visa hoppers’ will be considered as high-risk students. They’ll also face a slower and much more complicated application process.
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