Melbourne: Australia has drastically changed its skilled migration test to favour potential migrants with higher skills, experience and better command over the English language, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said on Thursday.
"These changes to the points test are an important next step in the series of reforms to the skilled migration programme announced by the government in February this year," Chris Bowen said in a media release on Thursday.
"The reforms set the foundations for a skilled migration programme that will be responsive to our economic needs and continue to serve Australia`s interests in the medium to long term," he added.
The changes announced would affect overseas students in Australia with lower level of English, low-quality qualifications and lack of substantial Australian work experience.
While there has been a significant drop in Indian students going to Australia for studies in the recent past, the Thursday changes could jeopardise permanent residence plans of hundreds of thousands of overseas students already studying in Australia.
Immigration advice professionals are likely to welcome the changes as the revamped system would encourage highly qualified and experienced professionals to apply for the Australian migration.
Bowen said: "For too long we`ve had a situation that Harvard graduates, in say environmental science with extensive work experience, would not qualify for skilled migration to Australia whereas someone with a 60-point occupation with a small amount of work experience would."
The new general Skills Migration Point Test, which would come into effect from July 01 next year, would also favour professionals aged between 25 and 32.
The skilled migration test would work alongside the new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) which was announced earlier this year.
The necessity to change the ‘inadequate` points test was under consideration for long as it was perceived as dominated by a small number of occupations like hairdressing and cookery.