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News Update: Major Changes Proposed for Australia’s Migration System

Australia is gearing up for an overhaul of its migration system, thanks to a comprehensive review by the Albanese government.

The review unearthed critical flaws in the system, prompting a series of proposed major reforms designed to cater to the needs of Australia’s 1.8 million temporary migrants. Let’s take a look at some of the proposed changes, particularly those impacting international students in Australia.

Improving international student visas

The government is committed to ensuring that students come to Australia for genuine educational pursuits. In pursuit of this goal, they plan to:

    • Reinforce student visa requirements
    • Enhance quality control measures for education providers
    • Streamline time spent on bridging visas (temporary visas issued to those awaiting a decision on another visa application)
    • Facilitate the acquisition of graduate visas (enabling students to live and work in Australia after completing their studies)
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Simplifying migration for skilled workers

The Albanese Government is proposing an innovative three-tiered system to simplify the migration process for skilled workers. Replacing labour market testing (mandated local job advertising before hiring skilled migrants), this new system will rely on skills assessments and equitable pay thresholds to ascertain eligibility.

The system comprises three categories:

  • Top-tier skilled migrants earning high salaries
  • Mid-level workers with incomes above the temporary skilled migration income threshold
  • Lower-wage workers in sectors grappling with skill shortages

Addressing temporary migrant workers from exploitation

Temporary migrant workers may be susceptible to exploitation due to their dependence on a single employer. The proposed reforms strive to protect these workers by:

Working Holiday Maker visas

The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa scheme may also see certain changes this year. Currently, the program allows visa holders to extend into a second and third year if they complete specified work. However, the review advises the government to consider limiting working holidaymakers to one year only in an effort to centre the program around “cultural exchange”.

Read more: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying for the Working Holiday Maker Visa Program

Parent and family reforms to be considered at a later date

According to The Guardian, the review emphasises the importance of family reunions for stable communities. It also highlights the long wait times for parents to join their children permanently in Australia.

To address this, the review suggests introducing a parent visa lottery to avoid further backlogs and a more affordable temporary visa for parents, which could eventually replace the permanent parent program.

However, the government will prioritise skilled migration reforms and consider family program reforms separately, with a final strategy set for late 2023.

At the time of publication, the changes mentioned in this article have simply been proposed and not implemented by law. Insider Guides will provide updates as the story progresses.