Australia Announces Stricter Visa Rules for Students and Low-skilled Workers
Australia Announces Stricter Visa Rules for Students and Low-skilled Workers

Sydney: Australia announced on Monday that it would tighten visa rules for international students and low-skilled workers, potentially cutting its migrant intake by half over the next two years. The decision is part of a government initiative to overhaul what it deems a "broken" migration system. Net immigration, expected to peak at a record 510,000 in 2022-23, is forecasted to decline to around a quarter of a million in 2024-25 and 2025-26, aligning with pre-COVID levels.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil stated, "We've worked around the clock to strike the best balance in Australia's migration system." O'Neil emphasized that the government's targeted reforms are already reducing net overseas migration and will contribute to the expected decline. The surge in net overseas migration in 2022-23 was primarily attributed to international students.

Last year, Australia increased its annual migration numbers to assist businesses facing staff shortages due to COVID-19. However, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese remarked over the weekend that Australia's migration numbers need to be reduced to a "sustainable level," characterizing the current system as "broken."

The Labor government in Australia, traditionally reliant on immigration to address labor market demands, aims to accelerate the entry of highly skilled workers and streamline their path to permanent residency. The new policies involve requiring international students to achieve higher ratings on English tests and discontinuing settings that allowed them to extend their stay. Additionally, a specialist visa for highly skilled workers will be introduced, with a one-week processing time to aid businesses in recruiting top migrants amid stiff competition from other developed economies.

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