Skilled migration laws have changed, what now?

International students can join the petition on the GoPetition website.

International students can join the petition on the GoPetition website.

INTERNATIONAL students can protest against the Federal Government’s approach to its migration reform in an online petition.

More than 150 people have already signed up in the month since it was launched by the Australian Federation of International Students.

In early February, the list of 106 occupations eligible for permanent residency was revoked in favour of a new, demand-based list of professional and trade occupations subject to annual review.

More than one third of jobs on the old list were scrapped, including popular courses like cooking and hairdressing, which together made up three quarters of all skill visa applications in 2007-08.

The changes mean students who applied for a skilled-graduate visa after February 8 and whose courses have been scrapped from the skilled occupations list would no longer be eligible for permanent residency, unless they found an employer to sponsor them.

While supportive of the reforms, AFIS honorary president Wesa Chau criticised the “abrupt and chaotic” way the changes were implemented.

Ms Chau called on the Federal Government to review measures so those already in Australia could gain permanent residency even if their course was no longer on the revised list.

“Many such students have invested a substantial amount of time, effort and money to enhance their skilled area of practice, only to find their options to further a career in that chosen field is now severely limited. Some are literally days off the July deadline,” she said.

“My concern is that students will now be rushing to find employers to sponsor them, making them highly vulnerable to exploitation. At the same time, international students are less attractive to employers, not because of their skills, but because of their temporary status.”

Immigration law specialist Jensen Ma says employer sponsorship isn't the only option for students seeking permanent residency in Australia. Photo: Samantha Su

In a statement, immigration minister Chris Evans said the new skilled occupation list ensured Australia’s skilled migration program was demand-driven rather than supply-driven.

“Australia’s migration program cannot be determined by the courses studied by international students,” he said.

“International students who have the skills our economy needs will still be able to apply for permanent migration or be nominated by employers, but we will no longer accept the thousands of cooks and hairdressers.”

Immigration law specialist Jensen Ma from Tan & Tan said employer sponsorship wasn’t the only avenue open to students affected by the changes.

“While not the best option, students who want to stay in Australia, can consider changing their course to study something that’s on the new list,” Mr Ma said.

“They should also find out if they are eligible for any other temporary visas, as many remain unaffected by the changes,” he said.

“But the best advice I can give students is to lodge their temporary visa no matter what. This visa lasts for one and a half years. A lot could happen in that period.”

There are 5 comments

  1. Greg

    That was really helpful – as someone who’s in the midst of applying for residency myself, I know how hard figuring it all out can be, especially if you don’t have a lawyer or agent to guide you.

  2. Karen

    Changes to the skilled migration visa have had a profound impact on international student enrolment figures, according to official data from Australian Education International.

    Higher education – such as university enrolments have reached a plateau, but the hardest hit are English language colleges and private colleges offering courses like hospitality.

  3. Jacqueline

    If the students change to courses that’s on the new list, no one knows what changes will they have in a few years.

    Not knowing much about independent migration, I would like to ask if there is a huge disadvantage to apply permanent residency if the current job is not listed on the “list”.

  4. Greg

    There isn’t a disadvantage per se, but you have to be prepared to take a slightly different route if your chosen career isn’t on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). You can consider taking a TR instead, and doing a year’s work experience before you apply for PR.

  5. Maximilien

    Stand up for 885 visa

    The reason for this facebook page is to create an intervention group against the inequity treatment directed at international students regarding permanent residency.

    Equity: The quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality.

    Under Human rights and Equal Opportunity legislation any client have the right to be treated in a fair and appropriate manner.

    Only the student that had finished they studies on December 2010 will have access to the visa 885 for the other it will be more complicated, they will have to go through multiple visas with no guarantee to have the Permanent Residency.

    Nomally, it should be equity for all students and only people that came after the new list in JULY 2010 have to be affected by the new list.

    International Student participate actively in the Australian economy because they study fees are ten time more expensive ( $ 20.000 for 2 years) than Permanent Resident, Refugee or Australian Citizen. They also pay visa fees and have to rely on savings for living expenses and they can only work for 20 hours a week.

    The new changes will not only affect the lifes and families of these international students it will also affect the amount of money these students bring to Australia ‘s education institutions, rent, visa fees and day to day costs.

    Thoughout Australia’s brief history the country has relied heavily on immigrants to build instructure, work hard and create the rich and resourceful country it is today. Due to shortages of skilled worker, the Australian government created a list of occupations to attract foreign workers.

    As of Febuary 2010 the Australian government announced that there will be a drastic change to the skills Occupation List (SOL) in July 2010. As of July 2010 half of the list got removed affecting onshore International Student who happen to be in mid study in order to meet the requirements of the skills occupation list.

    It was clear that Australia needed more skilled worker and it was possible after 2 years of studies to apply for the visa 885.

    Thank You for your support !!!!!

Post Your Thoughts