Oz tightens immigration rules to favour skilled workers

Last Updated: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 18:11

Melbourne: Australia on Monday tightened its
immigration rules to favour higher-skilled workers as against
"hairdressers" and "cooks," a revision that will lead to the
rejection of an estimated 20,000 migration applications from
foreign students, including Indians.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the revision of the
immigration rules will tilt the inflow of foreign migrants to
invite more doctors, engineers and IT professionals to suit
Australia`s local demands.

He also announced scrapping of the Migration Occupations
in Demand List (MODL) to limit the eligibility for independent
skilled migration to "a more targeted set of occupations".

"It (MODL) encouraged overseas students to train in
particular occupations to make it easier to acquire permanent
residence, in the process skewing the skilled migration
programme to a narrow set of occupations," he said.

Blaming the access of lower skilled immigrants as against
skilled professionals on the migration system hitherto in
place, he said: "We were taking hairdressers from overseas in
front of doctors and nurses, it didn`t make any sense".

On the deficiencies in the existing system, Evans said:
"A Rhodes Scholar would not pass the points test if he or she
took a degree in chemistry or mathematics... (but) there are
several occupations .. cooks and hairdressers ..where
international students can study in Australia, acquire
qualifications in space of 92 weeks and be on the road to
permanent residence".

"Under the previous government`s policy settings, the
skilled migration programme has been delivering too many 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," Evans said.

The Age newspaper reported that the revision would affect
20,000 migrant applicants from foreign students, including
Indians, seeking permanent residency through hairdressing,
cookery and other courses.

The new rules will also favour applicants who have
sponsors or job offers over those who have qualifications or
who are studying and the transition arrangement will run
through to the end of 2012.

The new system is also expected to tackle unscrupulous
migration agents who mislead foreign students into believing
that completion of a course in Australia gave them an
automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

"It does not and it will not. A student visa is just
that: a visa to study," he made it clear.

He said this will also reform the immigration rules
to be demand-driven rather than supply-driven.

Australia has over one lakh Indian students, about 19
per cent of total foreign enrolments. The UK, China, India and
South Korea, account for the largest immigrant intake of
Australia.

The measures, that come after a spate of attacks on
Indian students, are expected to dampen enrolment in colleges
by foreign students hoping to settle in the country.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 8, 2010 - 18:11

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