Foreign students put off by high costs

Foreign students put off by high costs

High university fees and the hefty cost of living in Australia were the reason almost half a survey group of would-be international students decided not to come to the country.

QS Enrolment Solutions, a global company that surveys student opinions, said of more than 3000 international students who wanted to come to Australia in 2017 but ended up not doing so, more than half said they they couldn’t afford the fees.

 

For more info click on this link below :

https://www.afr.com/news/policy/education/foreign-students-put-off-by-high-costs-20180909-h154io

Is Canada a viable option for applicants struggling to get PR in Australia?

 

Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to get Permanent Residency (PR) in Australia. But can immigration to Canada be an option for these applicants?

If you are a skilled worker with the right experience, skills and background, you may be able to make Canada your permanent home through its Express Entry Program.

Like Australia, Canada’s skilled migration program is also a points-based system which is designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet its skills needs.

Following the recent changes to Australia’s visa system, there are many skilled migrants who are struggling to salvage their dream of becoming Australian permanent residents*.

Migration experts believe the ‘visa changes’ have adversely affected the chances of these applicants in the skilled visa categories.

Many applicants who are struggling to meet the desired standards for PR in Australia now aim to move to Canada. But is Canada a viable option for these applicants?

A migration agent in Melbourne says many of his clients are worried due to these changes.

“The visa sector has seen huge changes in the last two years. Some of our clients are now extremely distressed about their prospects in Australia and aim to apply for Canada in high hopes,” he told .

“We’ve seen an impact due to the changes to the skilled occupation lists and state nomination criteria. Some applicants also had their hopes shattered due to the abolition of 457 visas and more recently, due to an increase in points threshold from 60 to 65 for skilled visas.”

He suggested that Canada’s skilled migration program is quite similar to Australia.

“There is not much difference in terms of the point system designed for various skill subsets, job experience and the English language capacity of the prospective applicant,” he says.

“But there are certain occupations that are in high demand where applicants can or may benefit from Canada’s Express Entry program.

“For an example, the transport industry is in a booming stage in Canada so potentially experienced truck drivers should explore this promising opportunity.”

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Australia can be a bigger country’: Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration

Scott Morrison’s new Population Minister reveals he DOESN’T want to reduce immigration
New Minster for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge has outlined his plan for immigration policy which focuses on a ‘bigger Australia’ with more decentralised population areas.

‘My view has always been that Australia can be a bigger country. But ideally you have a broader distribution rather than very rapid growth in some areas,’ Mr Tudge told.

New Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mr Tudge are shifting the focus away from reductions to immigrant numbers and towards a redistribution of where they are settled.

Mr Tudge has said that he is in favour of population growth, however, the areas where new immigrants are settled must be broader and not focused in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne

‘I’m not suggesting that for a second that it’s migrants’ fault – not at all,’ he said.

‘If you’ve got regions that can’t find workers and smaller states that want more people, then the immigration program is something that should be looked at.’

He did, however, not comment on a specific plan that would require new migrants to settle in regional areas for five years as a condition of their visas.

A decision on the time period for mandatory settlement was due to go to the Turnbull cabinet last week, but the leadership spill put that discussion on hold, The Australian reported on Wednesday.

The proposal has yet to be put to Scott Morrison’s new cabinet, and the prime minister’s office would not comment on the development of the policy.

It is understood a new visa class would apply to the skilled and family migration program but could also apply to refugees.

Almost 90 per cent of new migrants are settling in metropolitan areas such as Melbourne and Sydney.

A population package put before Government before last week’s leadership spill included the proposal for new migrants to be settled in regional areas for a period of up to five years – after this migrants could choose to relocate.

The newly appointed PM has created a separate portfolio of population to be lead by former Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge.

Department of Home Affairs figures revealed by The Australian showed that of the 112,000 skilled migrants that arrived in the country over the previous financial year, 87 per cent settled permanently in Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Tudge has previously said that the number of incoming migrants was not the only factor in growing population pressures, but rather where these migrants were settling and the distribution being focused in major cities.

‘If the population was distributed more evenly, there would not be the congestion pressures that we have today in Melbourne and Sydney,’ Mr Tudge told a forum in Melbourne.

‘Nor would there be if the ­infrastructure was built ahead of demand,’ he said.

New visa could keep migrants in regional Australia

The Turnbull government was already working on visas to force migrants to stay in the bush for longer, but Scott Morrison may put his own twist on the plan

The Morrison government is expected to forge ahead with new skilled and family visas that force migrants to spend years in regional areas before they can move to a city like Sydney or Melbourne.

The previous Turnbull government had long flagged new visas to “bind” migrants to the regions, with data from the Home Affairs department suggesting one in 10 who come under existing rural visas then move to a city within 18 months.

New prime minister Scott Morrison is yet to comment on the visas, but his recent cabinet reshuffle suggests the policy could be tweaked or integrated in a broader population policy.

The minister working on the visas was then-multiculturalism minister Alan Tudge, who has now been appointed to the new position of minister for cities and population in the reshaped Morrison cabinet.

The Australian reported a proposal for visas that locked migrants into the regions for five years was due to go to cabinet before the Liberal leadership spill, but is yet to be considered by the new team.

Mr Tudge’s office would not comment on the matter.

David Coleman has been appointed the new minister for immigration. His office told SBS News he was not yet in a position to comment on the policy either, having only just been sworn in.

The move takes immigration policy out of the responsibilities of Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton, with the exception of the Border Force, and could see a shift in emphasis.

Business lobby Ai Group said it hoped immigration would again be seen as an “economic portfolio”.

The business community reacted with anger when the Turnbull government revealed permanent migration – made up of skilled and family visas – had fallen to its lowest rate in 10 years.

James Pearson, head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the regions were “paying the price” for a failure of infrastructure planning in the capital cities.

Australia already has a number of visa programs designed to bring migrants to the bush, including the Skilled Regional (887) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (187).

But the schemes bring in relatively few migrants, despite the acute population decline and skills shortages in some regional areas.

More than 90 per cent of permanent arrivals choose to settle in the big cities on Australia’s east coast.
Moreover, there is little employers can do to stop migrants leaving for a city once their permanent residency has been granted.

In the visa world, the “regions” normally include smaller cities like Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart. The government reclassified Perth as a metropolis in November last year.

Questions remain over how the government can force migrants to stay in the regions without running into legal disputes by restricting freedom of movement.

Labor frontbencher Richard Marles questioned how the visas would function in practice.

“I’m not sure that mandating new immigrants living in regional Australia is going to work,” Mr Marles told .

“I’m not actually sure there is the power to put that in place, to actually mandate that they do live there,” he said.

“So I am a little worried about the particular prescription they are putting in place to bring this about.”

New RDA Central West Skills Occupation List

RDA Central West has developed a list of eligible occupations for the 489 Program and in accordance with the State partnership can select and nominate candidates with the required skills and eligibility as listed in the Central West Skills Occupation List for the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa subclass 489.

Full-time considered 35 hours per week. Due consideration has been given to visa work

restrictions therefore 20 hours per week as a minimum will be accepted with two years paid
employment in the occupation.

http://www.rdacentralwest.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/RDA-Central-West-Skills-Occupation-List.pdf

A new immigration idiot emerges

If you want a textbook example of how Australian academia has lost its credibility, look no further than the below analysis from University of Western Sydney Economics Professor Raja Junankar in The Conversation:

Many who fear Australia’s population boom believe we should be cutting down on immigration. They blame immigration for congestion and expenditure of environmental and other vital resources. They say Australia’s cities are becoming overcrowded and cannot sustain more people.

But if Australia were to cut down on immigration, it would also then make sense to introduce policies that limit numbers of international tourists and students. Why single out one group of people? If any person living in Australia drains a certain amount of resources, it stands to reason this is also the case with short-term visitors arriving year after year.

Not only do tourists and international students add to crowded trains, trams and buses, think of all the environmental resources they consume – such as the water hotels spend on frequently washing their sheets.

Just as with migration, tourist numbers are on the rise in Australia. But to come from an economics professor and to be published in The Conversation (a supposedly august, pro-mass immigration academic portal) is an indicator of how biased and desperate the population apologists have become.

First, international tourists typically stay in Australia for a few weeks and then leave, whereas permanent settlers stay, have children, and add to Australia’s population base. Tourists also don’t use public services like health. To compare one group with the other is ridiculous.

Second, the Professor has only looked at short-term arrivals, not net short-term movements (which includes Aussies overseas). If he had done this, he would quickly have discovered that while short-term arrivals have boomed to 9 million people annually, so too has short-term departures of Australians (11 million):

Therefore, the fundamental driver of Australia’s population increase is permanent migrants. Again, they stay in the country and also have children (then captured as ‘natural increase’). Thus, permanent migrants continually add to Australia’s population base both directly and indirectly.

If the permanent migrant intake was hypothetically reduced to zero then, over time, NOM and by extension Australia’s population would barely increase (because all temporaries would have to go home)

Record number of international students sticking around on visas with full work rights

More international students than ever are remaining in Australia for up to four years on graduate work visas following their studies.

The explosion has prompted concern from Labor, but the Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU) has argued they are not displacing other workers.

In March 50,000 international graduates were in Australia on the 485 visa — an increase of more than 16,000 in just 12 months.

Labor’s immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, said international students are an important contributor to the economy, but rapid growth in a visa subclass could be cause for concern.

“It’s incumbent on the Turnbull Government to ensure the integrity of Australia’s migration program,” he said.

Last year 350,000 international students were enrolled in universities — an increase of 100,000 in the preceding three years.

The lag between a student’s enrolment and graduation, and the grant of subclass 485 visas, means the number of international graduates working in Australia is set to rise even further in coming years.

International students are allowed to work for 20 hours per week during semester under their visa, but no time or occupation restrictions apply to the “post-study” graduate visa stream.

This provides a visa of two years following study — or up to four years for some higher qualifications — to those who complete degrees of at least two years.

The visa may assist some towards a pathway to permanent residency, but the majority of international students return to their home countries.

‘Very high value people’
ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt told that the visa provides “flexibility” and “financial incentives” to students.

“But it also means the graduates we have here, who are incredibly well trained, have the opportunity to contribute to the Australian economy,” he said.
A 2015 report from the Productivity Commission stated “there is little doubt that immigration has boosted the supply of youth labour” and “continued monitoring of the impact of immigration on youth and graduate labour markets is warranted”.

Since this report was released, the number of temporary graduate visa holders in Australia has more than doubled.

Tweaks to the visa in 2013 gave longer and less restrictive post-study work rights to university graduates than those in vocational training.

According to the 2016 i-graduate International Student Satisfaction Survey, the opportunity to work in Australia following study was more important to students than the opportunity for part-time work during study.

This survey, partly funded by the Department of Education and Training, found the following factors were most important to students coming to Australia:

reputation of the qualification,
reputation of the institution, and the
reputation of the education.
Teacher reputation, opportunities for further study and social life were factors ranked immediately above the opportunity to work in Australia following studies.

 

Students left in a lurch by sudden visa policy change

International students from India have been left in the lurch due to the ACT government’s sudden change in their visa policy.

Earlier this year, Kanish Chug moved to Canberra and enrolled himself in a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) course at the University of Canberra, in the hope of getting five additional points required to beat the high competition in his occupation for skilled migration to Australia.

“I have 75 points. The competition is very high. Only a fixed number of accountants are invited each year and the cut off is very high. When I heard Canberra was giving state nomination for those who lived here, I moved to Canberra hoping it will help me gain five more points,” Mr Chug told.

In July 2017, the ACT government opened up state nomination for occupations which were not on the “open” list of in-demand jobs, if they already lived in the ACT.

If a person could prove they had been living in the ACT on a student visa or graduate visa for at least 12 months and had completed a Certificate III or higher education at a local institution, they could qualify for state nomination.

This prompted many like to move to Canberra.

Anjali* moved her family from Perth to Canberra upon learning this.

“I sold off everything and moved here in September 2017. I have enrolled myself in a Professional Accounting course here, paid thousands in fees, just to become eligible for state nomination.

“And now they tell us, this policy is no longer available. I can’t tell you how depressed I am,” she said.

Anjali and Kanish told that the news has been devastating, saying it’s leaving their futures bleak.

“I paid $50,000 for my Master’s degree in Melbourne. I enrolled myself in another degree to get five extra points and have paid thousands in fees.

“It is devastating to learn that all my effort to move to Canberra, my hard earned money was for nothing,” Kanish says.

Anjali says she would have qualified in September for state nomination had they not changed this policy suddenly.

“I don’t know what to do now. I feel cheated,” she says.

Anjali and Kanish are not alone.

Hundreds have signed an online petition demanding the ACT Government honour its original promise and allow international students enrolled in an ACT institution on or before the 29 June 2018, to apply for ACT nomination under the policy in place on that day.

This petition has received over 600 signatures over two days.
“ACT government to review visa program”
The ACT Government has now said it’s looking at a ‘more flexible way’ to help people who had moved there.

“Given that demand for the program is expected to continue to increase, there will be a need to find a more flexible way to manage the program within the limitations imposed by the Department of Home Affairs,” The Canberra Times quoted a spokeswoman of Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

Pathway to claim 5 extra points towards Australia’s skilled migration

Visa applicants in skilled migration program are keen to gain extra points after the federal government announced significant changes in the point system from 1 July 2018.

Australia’s skilled migration program is a points-based system designed to attract highly qualified and experienced professionals to best meet Australia’s skills needs.

There are a number of skilled migration visas that require applicants to score a minimum number of points to qualify for permanent skilled migration.

After the government’s recent announcement of increasing points threshold from 60 to 65, many prospective applicants are looking for alternative ways to boost their chances in the General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa point system.

Some of the new applicants now rely on boosting their points by clearing language test from National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

NAATI offers Credentialed Community Language (CCL) Test that gives 5 points to the prospective applicants for their point-based GSM visa.

CCL Exam determines an applicant’s ability to interpret the conversation between two speakers speaking different languages.

Harpal Singh is a NAATI accredited translator and interpreter for Punjabi-English and he also serves as a member of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) and the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters (NZSTI).

Mr Singh told SBS Punjabi that in the last month only there has been an increase in the number of people who wish to take NAATI’s CCL test to gain five points for skilled migration point test.

“This follows government’s recent amendment to the point test threshold, and now everyone is keen to meet the desired criteria by taking up this examination,” he said.

“There’re two options, either you score 7 each in the English proficiency test IELTS or you clear NAATI’s CCL test. Often people find the second option easier as it is conducted at a conversational level compared to the academic nature of IELTS.”

Mr Singh explained that it should be clear that an individual who passes a CCL test is not certified to work as an interpreter or translator.

“This system is designed to benefit people who have multilingual skills. It is only supposed to help them gain five bonus points for their points-based visa applications made to the Department of Home Affairs. This does not provide them with a work opportunity in this field,” he says.

“The overall pass rate of the CCL test is above 50% and that’s why we see a large number of applicants opting for this test.

“It looks quite promising compared to the pass percentage of the test conducted to get certification as an interpreter or translator, which sits well below 15%.

Mr Singh explained that an overwhelming number of candidates take the CCL test lightly and come unprepared for the exam. “Just don’t be overconfident… It is only the practise that will make you through, so put some time and sincere effort if you wish to succeed,” he suggests.

Melbourne-based migration agent told that the recent change in the point test could be attributed to the high calibre of prospective applicants who express their interest in the GSM program.

“I often deal with Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu speaking clients from Indian-subcontinent and I see a huge interest in them to take the NAATI test to gain 5 extra points,” he said.

“The test success rate seems ok but the problem lies in registering for the examination. My clients are struggling to book sessions as there’re no seats available until December.

“It seems like a poorly organised system. I went to check NAATI’s Melbourne office who suggested they don’t have enough resources or manpower to cope-up with this huge increase in the number of applicants.

“The applicants who are desperate to gain this bonus may think of taking this test in the less crowded cities rather than doing it in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But I seriously doubt if there are any seats left in those cities.

Australian citizenship approvals have been dramatically reduced

The processing of citizenship applications has been painfully slow this year with the Department of Home Affairs approving 54,419 applications during the first eight months of 2017-18, compared to 139,285 last year, according to information released to the Federal Parliament on Monday.

During this financial year, a total of 141,236 citizenship applications were received as of February 28, the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs revealed.

The Department of Home Affairs last month told the Federal Parliament that over 200,000 people were awaiting the outcome of their citizenship applicants as of April 30 this year with the average waiting period for processing applications ballooning up to 16 months.

The relatively low number of citizenship grants is attributed to the period of April- October 2017 when the Department held on to new applications after announcing the citizenship reforms that sought to increase the general residence requirement and introduce a standalone English language test. The Government is planning to bring back a reworked version of the Bill after its proposed law was defeated in the Senate.

Home Affairs officer Luke Mansfield told a Senate Estimates hearing last month that an increased number of applications coupled with tightened national security requirements had led to an increase in the processing time of citizenship applications.

Citizenship applicants facing uncertainty

Atul Vidhata who runs an online forum – Fair Go for Australian Citizenship, says many migrants have been waiting much longer than sixteen months.

“When these people contact the department, they are told it’s not a service standard to process the applications within this timeframe,” he tells.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty due to a lack of clear communication. In our experience, some applications that were made in 2018 are being processed faster whereas applications made in 2017 are still held up.”

MP Julian Hill had questioned the Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge about the criteria applied for applications requiring ‘thorough analysis’ or ‘further assessment’.

“All applications for Australian citizenship are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the legislative criteria,” Mr Tudge responded.

India overtakes the UK as top source of Australian citizenship

Responding to questions by Victorian Labor MP Julian Hill, Mr Tudge revealed the country-wise break up of citizenship statistics.

India has been the top source of citizenship in Australia for the last five years overtaking the United Kingdom.

Since 2012-13, over 118,000 people born in India have pledged their allegiance to Australia by becoming Australian citizens. Indian migrants also top the list of country-wise visa recipients in Australia’s annual immigration program.

As of February 28 this year, 10,168 Indian-born migrants were granted Australian citizenship with 25,408 Indian-born people applying during the same time. The 2016-17 figure stood at 22,006 citizenship grants to Indian migrants with 29,955 Indians applying for it.