20 December 2008

Changes to Skilled Migration Processing

On the 17th of December, the Australian government announced changes to the way applications for skilled migration visas are handled. Occupations on the new critical skills list will be fast-tracked, while other occupations on the Migration Occupations in Demand (MODL) list will proceed more slowly.

The press has been quick to pick up the fact that cooks, and hairdressers are not on the critical skills list. The changes will become effective on 1 January 2009, so any students currently studying cookery or hairdressing courses as a short-cut to permanent residence may find themselves heading back home in 2009. The government is maintaining the target of 133 500 places for skilled migrants in 2008-9, but does not guarantee that many migrants will actually be allowed visas.

While the change is something of a shock for students part way through their courses, the economic situation in Australia has changed radically in the second half of 2008 and a reduction in the number of skilled migrants is almost inevitable. Numbers have risen very quickly since 1996-7, when only 24,000 people migrated to Australia in the Skilled migration program. In 2007-2008 the number was just over 100,000. The economic situation will hit students and the skilled migration program. Already, students are finding it more difficult to find part time work. Retailers are finding it tough, with some stores, such as Portmans, a women's fashion store, advertising 70% off some stock today. Some stores have been brought their traditional Boxing Day discounts forward a week to try to encourage people to buy. Normally prices don't budge until the 24th of December at the earliest and I haven't seen such early, extreme discounting in recent years. I even doubt whether it happened in 1990 or 1991, in the depths of recession.

One thing we should remember from 1990 & 1991 was that immigration became unpopular as unemployment in Australia rose. Even though immigration became unpopular, the government didn't shut down the skilled migration program completely. If unemployment rises in 2009, and all the indications are that it will, there will come a time when the public will lose patience with skilled migrants driving taxis as locals are unable to find work, even as taxi drivers. To pre-empt the shift in public opinion, the government has re-adjusted the migration system to better ensure skilled migrants will be able to find work in their area of skill.

My prediction is that the MODL list will be either totally superseded by the "critical demand" list or shortened next year to only include professions which are "recession-proof", professions like those on the critical demand list such as medical professionals and plumbers. Lets face it, if you're plumbing is leaking you'll get it fixed, even if takes your last dollar.


Sachin said...

Hi, I am planning to go to Victoria University, Melbourne in Semester intake 2, starting in July. I got an acceptance letter from the university for MBA in Finance. I plan on doing this specific major because I want to apply for PR. I just read on your blog about the need to complete 900 hours of work in my field specifically in order to apply for the PR after I graduate. I do not live in Australia, thus I do not know how the market for finance students is. I read about the MODL and SOL list. Finance is currently listed on SOL list. However, I do not have any work experience in Finance as I have just obtained my Bachelor's degree from USA. I wanted to ask, is it a must to complete 900 hours of work before applying for PR? How hard is it getting a job in Australia for a finance student considering the job market, which is very slow at the moment because of the global recession. I know I can drive a taxi to earn some money (legally using the work permit) but do I have to work in a finance field? Any replies would be highly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

so basicly if i finish my hairdressing course in dec 2009 and apply for PR in 2010 i have no chance to get it rite?

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