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Australia reduces skill-based migration

world Updated: May 18, 2010 01:07 IST
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Passing a course in cooking or hairdressing will not deliver permanent residency in Australia after the government Monday took the scissors to its skills-shortage list.

Cooks and hairdressers accounted for 12 percent of the 41,000 issued visas in the skilled category last year and 75 percent of those visas went to those, mostly Indians, who had studied in Australia.

Other skilled occupations gone from the visa-friendly list are acupuncturist, dance teacher, hotel manager, piano tuner, interior decorator, journalist and naturopath.

“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 who applied under the guidelines established by the (previous) government,” Immigration Minister Chris Evans said.

Cooking and hairdressing are two of 219 occupations crossed out from the old list of 400. The new list comes into force at the start of the new financial year July 1 and will be updated annually. Since 2001 foreign students could apply for permanent residency if they completed courses matching skills listed as in short supply.

Previously, there was no preferential treatment for those studying in Australia and the rule was that all students had to return home before applying for permanent residency.

The changes in 2001 led to certain courses being touted as guaranteed to deliver a visa.

This was the bait that enticed 90,000 Indians to come to study in Australia.

Along with cutting the skills-wanted list to 181 occupations, all 1,300 private colleges have had to apply for re-accreditation. They will find it harder to offer entry into Australia under the guise of providing education.

Migration agents to be screened

As part of measures to cleanse the immigration system, Australia has re-registered agents providing e-visa service to Indian students, recognising only 22 companies out of the 121 who expressed interest from across the country.

The measure would serve to tighten the process of immigration after questions were raised over the credibility of several migration agents in India who were allegedly breaching the system and sending students on fake documents.