Melbourne, Jul 1: Australia's new immigration rules that focus on higher qualification and advance English language skills as requirements for those wanting to migrate to this country, came into effect today.
The new rules, according to Australian officials, aim to pick up the “best and the brightest” from the pool of applicants, and have been criticised by Indian groups here. The Australian government announced changes to its independent skilled migration points test, introducing the new immigration point system to put more emphasis on work experience and high-level educational qualification with higher English language proficiency.
“These changes to the points test are an important next step in the series of reforms to the skilled migration programme announced by the Government in February this year,” Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said. “The reforms set the foundations for a skilled migration programme that will be responsive to our economic needs and continue to serve Australia's interests in the medium to long term,” he added.
However, the new programme has been criticised by the Federation of Indian Association of Victoria (FIAV) which said the level of English proficiency is like an “iron curtain” being imposed on migration in this country. IAV president Vasan Srinivasan said the organisation sympathises with the government's need to attract to Australia migrants with good English speaking skills but the requirement that is appropriate for skilled professionals like for doctors and accountants, should not be required for other less professional occupations.
The new points test will only affect skilled independent immigration and not employer-sponsored immigration.Srinivasan said to address the skills shortage of the economy the government should allow persons skilled to do the work and understand the language at a level of competency that they can understand directions given by their employers. Anything more than that, merely another barrier to “legitimate migrants”, Srinivasan, who also heads National Council of Indian Australians (NCIA) said.
“We need skilled individuals who can contribute due to their skills and who have functional English language skills! Then adopt such a policy and stop shifting the level,” he said.
The Australian government introduced the points test in the selection process where in the applicants applying for migration are awarded points to the skills and attributes considered to be in need in Australia.
As of today, the test is said to focus on better English levels, more extensive skilled employment, higher level qualifications obtained in Australia and overseas and better targeted age ranges. PTI