On December 11, 2023, the government of Australia unveiled a new Migration Strategy, outlining significant changes to the country’s immigration system. .
The new strategy is described as the “biggest reforms to migration in a generation”. It aims to address growing concerns about the system’s integrity and efficiency while ensuring Australia meets its evolving economic needs.
Key Points of Australia’s New Migration Strategy:
1. Focus on targeted approach by reducing net migration within two years: The government plans to reduce the annual intake of permanent and temporary migrants from a record high of 510,000 to around 250,000.
This dramatic decrease aims to ease pressure on infrastructure and public services. It allows more targeted approach to skilled migration.
2. Introduction of a new skills-based visa: The “Skills in Demand” visa will replace the current Temporary Skilled Shortage visa and offer three targeted pathways:
🔹Specialist Skills Pathway: Designed to attract highly skilled professionals in critical sectors like technology and green energy.
🔹Core Skills Pathway: Focused on meeting specific workforce needs, with a regularly updated occupation list.
🔹Regional Skills Pathway: Encourages skilled workers to settle in regional areas facing labor shortages.
3. Higher English language requirements: All international students and graduates will be required to meet a higher English language proficiency standard, with the minimum IELTS score likely to increase.
Under the International English Language Testing System, students applying for a Graduate visa will require a score of 6.5 up from 6.0, while student visa applicants will need a 6.0 up from 5.5.
4. Genuine Student Test to be introduced: This new test aims to ensure that international students are genuinely enrolled in courses relevant to their skills and career aspirations.
5. Reshaping permanent skilled migration: A new points test is being explored, emphasizing skills and experience that contribute to Australia’s long-term economic growth.
6. New Talent and Innovation visa: This visa will attract exceptional individuals who can make significant contributions to Australia’s innovation and research landscape.
7. Crackdown on visa fraud and exploitation: The government will implement stricter measures to combat visa fraud and exploitation of migrant workers.
You can find a detailed action plan for the new Migration Strategy here.
Unlikely to Impact Indians Immigrating to Australia
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Philip Green reaffirmed the commitments under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). Subsequently, the new Migration Strategy gives an impact for aspiring Indian students and professionals to immigrate to Australia in the near future.
Indian graduates will continue to be eligible to stay on a Temporary Graduate Visa for two-four years, depending on the degree. The reforms are also expected to open a new pathway for semi-skilled workers that is likely to benefit Indian nationals.
Overall, some key anticipated outcomes include:lled
1. Reduced competition for skilled worker visas, particularly in lower-skilled occupations.
2. Uncertainty for businesses that rely on temporary migrant workers.
3. Increased focus on attracting high-performing students and graduates who can contribute to the economy.
4. Improved integrity and efficiency of the migration system, reducing visa processing times and costs.
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The full implementation of the new strategy will take time, with some changes. It is going to be in operation in the upcoming months in 2014. However, Australia’s migration landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. It focuses on attracting skilled talent and ensuring long-term economic prosperity.