Tougher Migration Rules For Students

May 8, 2006: Tougher Migration Rules For Students

Tougher migration rules for students
By Michelle Grattan
May 8, 2006

Students from overseas who want to stay in Australia as skilled migrants will face tougher conditions in future.

They will need better English and improved vocational or on-the-job training before being granted permanent residency. This follows a report that found these students often lacked English language skill, work experience and vocational training.

The Government in 1999 changed the migration system to allow overseas students studying in Australia to apply after they graduated under the skilled migration program. In 2001-02, 5284 visas were issued in the main former student category; by 2004-05, 12,978 were issued.

They received extra points for their Australian qualifications, and did not have to fulfil the normal requirement of having had work experience in their nominated occupation.

The inquiry into the skilled migration program found employers said many skilled migrants lacked appropriate English proficiency for professional positions. It also found these former students mostly lacked on-the-job training and often their education had not contained a sufficient vocational component. For example, many had studied IT but did not have programming language skills.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said in future applicants for skilled migrant entry would have to meet a higher level of English language skill. There also would be greater emphasis on skilled work experience as a factor in the points test.

“This means that many former overseas students, who are currently exempt from work experience requirements when applying for skilled migration, will require some skilled work experience in order to qualify,” she said. The Government would provide temporary visas to help students to gain work experience.