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Australia To Toughen Up Student Visa Rules And Halve Migrant Intake

Earlier this week, Australia claimed to lower its migrant intake over the next two years. The move is an attempt to fix a “broken” migration system. Australia will tighten regulations for student visas and low-skilled workers. International students should score higher marks in English proficiency tests for visa applications. Their second visa applications will also be under strict scrutiny. 


Australian Home Affairs Minister Claire O'Neil stated, "Our strategy will bring migration numbers back to normal. But it is not just about numbers. It is not just about this moment and our experience with migration. It is about the future of Australia."


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also commented that the Australian migration system is dysfunctional and that migration rates need to be sustainable. O'Neil claims that government reforms are already effective in bringing down migration. In the future, migrant numbers will continue to decrease. 


The centre-left Labour government has pledged to investigate the migration system. The migration setup has endured systematic abuse, which has given rise to human trafficking and other crimes. The new reforms will allow skilled workers to receive visa approvals easily and quickly. Meanwhile, the government will monitor student visa applications.


The Australian government decided to crack down on migration as the rate peaked at 510,000 in 2022–23. According to data predictions, the numbers will fall to a quarter of a million in 2024–25 and 2025–26. Such numbers will be similar to the migration rates before COVID.


International students contributed to the increase in migration. The Australian-based education company IDP Education faced a 3% decrease in shares. IDP Education provides academic and placement services to international students. 


Australian companies faced a shortage of working staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the government allowed international students and workers to enter Australia. With the current Australian workforce quickly ageing, the country is raising a high demand for skilled young workers.


The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper surveyed the migration rates. 62% of Australian voters agreed that migration has increased substantially. The increase in migrants puts pressure on the already declining housing market. The country is currently battling homelessness and unreasonable rental prices.


Australia has been reliant on foreign immigration for its workforce. Thus, the Labour Party of Australia has pushed for a new system to allow highly skilled individuals to enter the country and acquire permanent residency. 


A special visa with a processing time of one week will be available for highly skilled individuals from developed economies who wish to work in Australia.

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