This article was last updated on December 11, 2023
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Australia’s Migration Reform
Australia has announced stricter visa rules aimed at tackling the “broken migration system” and significantly reducing the influx of migrants. The country seeks to make it more challenging to obtain a visa, particularly for international students and low-skilled workers. The new measures are anticipated to halve the migration flow over the next two years.
According to Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, the tightening of visa regulations is intended to “bring migration rates back to normal”. The government aims to counter the unprecedented increase in immigration, largely driven by a surge in international students, which is projected to reach a record high in 2022-2023. Prime Minister Albanese emphasized the need to restore Australia’s migration rates to “sustainable levels”, highlighting that “the system is broken”.
An Increase in International Students
Over the past decade, the number of international students in Australia has more than doubled, from approximately 340,000 in 2012 to 650,000 currently. By implementing these new measures, Australia plans to limit the influx to a maximum of 250,000 people per year.
Insights from Sydney Correspondent
“Australia is a country of migrants, with almost one in two Australians having a parent born abroad. The country also needs immigrants to fill all the jobs. But recent polls show that a majority of the population believes that the influx of new people is currently too high. With the new migration strategy, the government is trying to bring in the people the country needs to fill jobs, but keep out people who would not contribute enough to the economy.”
The new regulations stipulate that international students must achieve a higher grade in English tests and can no longer extend their stay in Australia. Conversely, highly educated workers will find it easier and faster to obtain a visa, with the ability to secure one within a week under the revised rules. This is expected to facilitate Australian companies in recruiting skilled migrants.
Impact of COVID-19
The recent surge in migration is primarily attributed to the substantial influx following the reopening of borders. Australia’s borders were closed for almost two years during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting the government to increase migration rates last year with the specific aim of assisting companies in recruiting workers.