Rejected and Dejected, Would-Be Residents Team Up To Call For A Second Chance

Rejected and dejected, would-be residents team up to call for a second chance

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 10, 2010

CHANGES to the skilled migration program will not protect vulnerable students who have spent thousands of dollars and many years trying to gain residency in Australia, an advocacy group says.

Carolina Schwinden, 24, a spokeswoman for Almost Australian, said the group had been formed to support the thousands of people who were agonisingly close to gaining residency in Australia before changes in the skilled migration program announced this week meant their applications may no longer be successful. It would help those would-be residents and campaign to restore the conditions that were in place when they came to Australia.

On Monday the Minister for Immigration, Chris Evans, announced an immediate overhaul of the skilled migration system that revoked the Migration Occupations in Demand List and cancelled the applications of about 20,000 people.

Ms Schwinden, who attended university in her home country of Brazil but spent $22,500 and two years at hairdressing school in Australia as well as completing 900 hours of volunteer work experience, said she was “devastated” by the changes.

Unless she can find a salon that can sponsor her residency she will be sent home. “It just feels like [the residency] is never going to come through now,” she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration said the system had been changed to protect students from unreliable colleges and to ensure that people who applied for skilled migration worked in the industry in which they had trained. “There were a lot of people taking courses with the sole reason of wanting to get permanent residency,” he said.

But Ms Schwinden said there was nothing to stop the colleges that previously exploited students from becoming employers that exploited potential migrants.