Australia Overhauls its Visa System

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Details were released today in Australia of major changes to the Australian skilled migration programme by the Rudd government. These changes will affect the ability of thousands of Irish people wanting to migrate to Australia. For some it will improve their chances but for many the changes will spend the end of their dream of moving to Australia.

Details were released today in Australia of major changes to the Australian skilled migration programme by the Rudd government.

These changes will affect the ability of thousands of Irish people wanting to migrate to Australia. For some it will improve their chances but for many the changes will spend the end of their dream of moving to Australia.

For some 20,000 people who lodged skilled visa applications before major changes were made in September 2007 are expected to have their applications denied and their visa application fees refunded, the cost to the Australian taxpayer will run into the millions.

One of the basic foundations of the visa system, the “migration point test” long associated with any application for a skilled visa now under review. The current points test table is seen as out of date and out of touch with Australia’s need for highly skilled migrants. One example given on the Immigration website explaining the changes described how under the existing points test a hairdresser, who was under 30, with 1 year’s work experience was eligible to apply for a Skilled Independent visa while a Harvard degree holding Environmental scientist of the same age with 3 years of experience would not be eligible for the same skilled visa category to Australia.

Coinciding with the point test review, the occupations in demand list was also cancelled by the Australian government and there will not be a replacement list. A new list of skilled occupations Australia wants in its potential migrants is to be introduced in mid 2010. The new list will favour highly skilled migrants including nurses, medical professionals, professional engineers and teachers instead of hairdressers and cooks. The changes also marks the new prerogative of the Federal government to work closely with the state and territory governments identify that certain candidates for the skilled migration programme must be prioritised. It is the opinion of Senator Evans the current Minister for Immigration that certain elements of the skilled migration scheme as it existed were “rusty”.

Australian employers are said to be supportive of the changes seeing them as affecting a better connection between Australian residency and satisfying Australian skills shortage which is at critical levels.

Mege Dalton is an Australian immigration lawyer based in Dublin helping her clients from around Ireland prepare and lodge their visa applications to the Australian government in order to realise their dreams of one day living Down Under.

Mege Dalton
Australian Immigration Lawyer
Business Visas Australia, Ashpine House
5 Slaney Court, Glasnevin, Dublin 11
IRELAND
+353 (01) 442 8643

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