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Changes in Australia's Migration Policies For a Sustainable Future

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Thurs, 14th December 2023

The Australian government, led by Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil, has introduced substantial reforms designed to reshape the nation's migration framework. These changes, centred on rigorous visa requirements for international students and skilled workers, strategy to address perceived shortcomings in the current migration system.

Clare O'Neil underscores the government's commitment to shaping Australia's future through a comprehensive migration experience spanning the next two years.

Australia Student Visa Policies

As part of these modifications, international students must now attain higher scores on English proficiency tests.

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Under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), applicants for a Graduate visa now need a score of 6.5, a rise from the previous threshold of 6.0.

Similarly, student visa applicants are now required to achieve a score of 6.0, reflecting an increase from the prior benchmark of 5.5.

These adjustments aim to ensure that incoming students possess a heightened level of language proficiency, contributing to a more enriched academic and cultural experience.

Australia Work Visa: Skills in Demand Visa

In response to workforce needs, the Australian government will introduce a new visa category—the Skills in Demand Visa. This initiative replaces the existing temporary skill shortage visa, offering workers increased flexibility to switch employers and providing transparent pathways to permanent residency for those seeking it.

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The new visa comprises three distinct pathways, each tailored to specific skill levels and occupational sectors.

  • 1. The first pathway targets specialists in high-demand fields, such as technology and energy, necessitating eligible applicants to earn at least $135,000 annually.
  • 2. The second pathway focuses on core skills to address workforce needs, featuring a regularly updated occupation list reflecting the dynamic Australian job market.
  • 3. The third pathway, still in development, addresses essential skills with a focus on labour shortages for those on lower incomes

The government anticipates that these new pathways will contribute $3.4 billion to the budget over the next decade.

Australia Student Visa for Indians

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Philip Green, Australia's High Commissioner to India, assures that commitments under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) will be honoured within the new Migration Strategy. Consequently, Indian graduates will continue to be eligible for a Temporary Graduate Visa, allowing them to stay for:

  • Two years post completing a bachelor's degree
  • Three years post completing a Master's degree
  • Four years post completing a Ph.D.

Australia's Migration Influx Forecast

The decision to overhaul visa rules is in response to a projected peak in net immigration at 510,000 in 2022-23, primarily driven by international students.

The Australian government aims to align immigration levels with pre-COVID figures by 2024-25 and 2025-26, anticipating a decline to approximately a quarter of a million.

As Australia embarks on this ambitious migration strategy, the visa regulations for international students and skilled workers, coupled with the introduction of innovative pathways, signify a strategic approach aimed at fostering a more resilient and adaptable workforce.

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