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Australia to amend immigration laws

Source: PTI
December 18, 2008 12:51 IST
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In the backdrop of prevailing global economic meltdown, the Australian government is all set to review its skilled migration programme making it tougher for migrants seeking permanent residency.

The Australian government is set to amend the immigration procedures that will also fast-track approvals for skilled migrants during critical demand in the country, media reports said.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said engineers, medical, IT and construction trade professionals on a new 'critical skills list' would be given preferences while some migrants may find hard to enter the country.

Unlike previous trends, hairdressers and chefs were no longer to get priority. Many Indian students have been enrolling themselves for hairdressing and cookery as the two courses attracted extra migration points and made it easier for them to get permanent residency.

"The overwhelming message is that we need to maintain a skilled migration programme but one that is more targeted," Evans said, adding that, "there were concerns that the permanent skilled migration programme was not delivering the right skills to the right areas."

Under the changes, states and territories will have more scope to sponsor migrants to fill shortages specific to their economies, while '457 temporary visa' holders nominated by employers for jobs that cannot be filled locally also get priority.

The government has come under pressure to revise its skilled migration programme in view of the slowdown and higher unemployment.

The changes have been designed to channel skilled migrants to industries with shortages while retaining the programme to a level that keeps the economy going, Evans added.

The 'critical skills list,' which includes 60 occupations, will take precedence over the 'migration occupations in demand list' that includes hairdressers, pastrycooks and locksmiths.

Evans said the 'migration occupations in demand list' has failed to fill shortages as some applicants enrolled in certain occupations had no intention to work in the field.

The changes could have a big impact on what international students choose to study and the types of courses colleges provide. Tens of thousands of international students have gained permanent residency after studying courses which are weighted with visa points because they are included on the 'migration occupations in demand list'.

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