Australia Implements Stringent Visa Measures: Focus on English Proficiency and Extended Stay Restrictions
Written by Sanjay Kumar
- Anticipates 50% cut in migrants, focusing on fixing a “broken” system.
- Extended stays for international students axed.
- New one-week visa processing to meet labor market needs.
Country in Oceania
- Capital: Canberra
- Dialing code: +61
- Gross domestic product: 1.55 lakh crores USD (2021) World Bank
- GDP (nominal): 2023 estimate
- Population: 2.57 crores (2021) World Bank
- Government: Representative democracy, Parliamentary system, Constitutional monarchy
- Area: 7.688 million km²
In a move to revamp its immigration system, Australia has announced significant changes to its visa regulations, targeting international students and low-skilled workers. The government aims to reduce the migrant intake by half over the next two years, citing the need to address what it deems a “broken” migration system.
The decision comes on the heels of projections indicating that net immigration reached a record 510,000 in 2022-23, with expectations of a sharp decline to around 250,000 in 2024-25 and 2025-26, aligning with pre-COVID levels.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil emphasized the government’s dedication to finding the right balance in Australia’s migration system. O’Neil asserted that the targeted reforms are already impacting net overseas migration, contributing to the anticipated reduction.
The surge in net overseas migration in 2022-23 was primarily attributed to international students, prompting the government to reevaluate its migration strategy.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, addressing the need for sustainability, expressed concerns about the current state of the migration system, characterizing it as “broken.” Australia, having relied heavily on immigration to address labor market demands, now seeks to streamline entry for highly skilled workers while maintaining a sustainable level of migration.
Under the newly introduced policies, international students will face stricter requirements, particularly in English proficiency tests. Additionally, measures will be implemented to prevent students from extending their stay in Australia.
In response to the changing landscape, a specialized visa for highly skilled workers will be introduced, featuring an expedited one-week processing time. This initiative aims to assist businesses in recruiting top-tier talent amid intense competition with other developed economies.
Australia’s Labor government, cognizant of the need to adapt to evolving economic conditions, is striving to balance the demands of its labor market with a sustainable and efficient migration system. The full details of the government’s new migration strategy are set to be released later, marking a crucial step in reshaping the nation’s approach to immigration.
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