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Australia Tightens Visa Rules For Students, Workers; Higher Rating In English Tests, More


The government said there are five key objectives for its migration strategy: raising living standards for Australians, ensuring good working conditions, and strengthening international relationships.

New Delhi: Australia announced on Monday that it would tighten visa criteria for international students and low-skilled workers, potentially halving its migrant intake over the next two years, as the government seeks to reform a “broken” migration system. Under the new criteria, international students would need to score higher on English examinations, and a student’s second visa application to extend their stay would be scrutinised more closely.

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While announcing the decision, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said that the move is expected to halve its migrant intake over the next two years. “Our strategy will bring migration numbers back to normal,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said during a media briefing.

The government said there are five key objectives for its migration strategy: raising living standards for Australians, ensuring good working conditions, and strengthening international relationships.

This is in response to record levels of international students entering the country once COVID-related border closures were lifted. But the sudden influx of foreign workers and students has exacerbated pressure on an already tight rental market, with homelessness on the rise in the country. A survey done for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Monday said 62% of Australian voters said the country’s migration intake was too high.

The decision comes after net immigration was expected to have peaked at a record 510,000 in 2022-23. Official data showed it was forecast to fall to about a quarter of a million in 2024-25 and 2025-26, roughly in line with pre-COVID levels.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia’s migration numbers needed to be wound back to a “sustainable level,” adding that “the system is broken.”

Current and former international students living in Australia already number 860,000 and are hurtling towards one million people. These reforms target the vocational education and training sector and students who remain in Australia following their course. But the number of international students is set to remain about the same, just with more sustainable levels of growth.

A new specialist visa for highly skilled workers will be set up with the processing time set at one week, helping businesses recruit top migrants amid tough competition with other developed economies.

Australia, which has become one of the tightest labour markets in the world, has been long reliant on immigration.

 



Published Date:December 12, 2023 12:54 PM IST



Updated Date:December 12, 2023 12:54 PM IST



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