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Government unveils new migration strategy; aims to balance growth and control

Published Dec 11, 2023 13:52 Updated Dec 11, 2023 14:30
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© Reuters. Government unveils new migration strategy; aims to balance growth and control
 
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The Australian Government is poised to unveil a comprehensive new migration strategy that seems to herald a departure from the party’s previous stances on immigration.

Paradigm shift

It's a delicate balancing act, aiming to attract skilled and qualified individuals while safeguarding the interests and welfare of both the migrants and the wider Australian community.

This strategic overhaul, following a critical review by Dr Martin Parkinson, seeks to address the weaknesses of Australia’s current migration system, which has been deemed ‘not fit for purpose’.

With Australia’s net migration levels having peaked last financial year at 510,000, the government aims to bring these numbers down to more manageable levels in the coming years.

At the heart of this new direction, detailed in an extensive 100-page document, is a dual focus – tightening the rules for international students and curtailing the phenomenon of ‘visa hopping’.

Raising the bar for international students

A key aspect of the new strategy is a heightened English language requirement for student and temporary graduate visa holders.

Beginning next year, the bar will be higher under the International English Language Testing System. Aspiring Graduate visa applicants must now score 6.5 instead of the previous 6.0, while those seeking Student visas face a new threshold of 6.0, up from 5.5.

This move is explicitly aimed not just at enhancing the educational experience of foreign students in Australia but also at reducing potential workplace exploitation.

The new immigration policy also calls attention to what it calls ‘permanently temporary’ migrants, primarily international students and graduates.

These individuals often stay in the country for extended periods through successive student visas, prompting the government to introduce more rigorous scrutiny for those applying for a second visa.

A new ‘genuine student test’ will be implemented to ensure that education remains the focus of international students residing in Australia.

The strategy includes the establishment of a new ‘specialist skills pathway’ to attract top-tier talent, which is tailored for individuals with specialised and unique skill sets.

It offers an opportunity for eligible applicants earning at least $135,000 to contribute to the Australian workforce.

Easing economic strain

The government anticipates that this initiative will bring significant economic benefits, injecting an additional $3.4 billion into the budget over the next decade.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil underscored the importance of these changes, saying they are crucial for getting migration to work for the country.

She asserts that the strategy strikes an optimal balance between addressing workforce shortages and easing the strain on other economic sectors.

The unveiling of the new strategy comes at a time when public discourse is rife with concerns about the impact of high levels of migration on inflation and the rental market.

The government clearly hopes the public will view this approach as a nuanced appreciation of all these challenges, designed to ensure that migration benefits the nation while maintaining the integrity and purpose of the immigration system.

Read more on Proactive Investors AU

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Government unveils new migration strategy; aims to balance growth and control
 

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