Australia to Slash Migration by 50%
Australia Slashes Migrant Intake by 50% in Major Reform
Canberra, Australia: In a major shake-up, the Australian government announced plans to drastically reduce the country’s migrant intake by 50%.
This sweeping policy aims to overhaul the “broken” immigration system and address concerns over housing shortages and worker exploitation.
Read More: Australia Unveils Major Immigration Reforms
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated that the previous government had left the immigration system in disarray, necessitating “major reform.”
Criticizing the system’s complexity and inefficiency, she declared the government’s intention to “bring numbers back under control,” leading to a significant reduction in annual intake.
The reforms encompass stricter measures, including:
- Increased English language requirements for international students: Graduate visa applicants will now require a score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System, up from 6.0. Similarly, student visa applicants will need a 6.0, compared to the previous 5.5.
- Enhanced scrutiny for second visa applications: The government will implement stricter checks to safeguard against exploitation and ensure visa holders meet the required standards.
These changes aim to attract skilled workers essential for Australia’s economy while protecting vulnerable individuals from exploitation. Businesses, however, express concerns that blaming migrants for housing issues deflects attention from the need for increased investment in affordable housing.
The Home Office outlined the key focuses of the reform:
- Targeted skilled migration: Attracting workers with specific skills needed in the Australian economy.
- Streamlined pathways for top global talent: Facilitating the entry of exceptional individuals with high potential.
- Higher standards for international students and education providers: Ensuring quality and ethical practices in international education.
- Visa settings to tackle worker exploitation: Protecting wages, working conditions, and preventing exploitation.
- Support for regional Australia: Providing faster access to skilled workers for regional communities.
- New migration planning approach: Returning migration levels to pre-pandemic stages and ensuring appropriate skill distribution.
While the formalities are still being finalized, these policies are expected to remain in place for at least two years.
This significant change will likely impact international students, who have migrated to Australia in large numbers in recent years.
With net immigration reaching 510,000 in 2022-23, the government aims to significantly reduce this number through these reforms.
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