The dream of many immigrants and international students who come to Australia to work or study is to get a permanent resident visa and ultimately citizenship. There are several reasons for this; one is the fact that Australia has a strong economy with a high standard of living.
Other reasons include security, stable political system, cultural diversity, high standard of education, and beautiful weather that encourages outdoor activities.
The government has now introduced new regulations to get a work visa, citizenship, and permanent residency visa. The new rules are stricter and would surely make it more difficult to get a permanent visa to Australia.
The stricter requirements for skilled workers.
One of the easiest ways to get a permanent residency visa to Australia is through the Skilled Migration Program. This program is open for highly skilled worker below the age of 50.
The set of workers who would be mostly affected are workers in the medical, restaurant/hospitality, and IT industries. Apparently, Australian citizens are of the view that immigrants from these industries are depriving them of work.
That is another way of saying there should be a filtering system to prioritize areas where there is inadequate Australian manpower.
So what are the new changes?
First, the new permanent residency visa would last either two or four years in the first instance. It used to be four years for all categories of applicants/visa.
For the two-year visa, the number of eligible jobs on the list eligible for the visa would be reduced by about 200. Currently, there are about 650 eligible professions on the list. This effectively blocks many people from applying.
The news is even worse for those to be granted the four-year visa as a higher number of eligible professions would be culled from the list.
Other requirements for getting the visa would be tweaked to make it harder. These include:
- A stricter English language proficiency test. Now applicants would have to show a higher degree of English language communication and comprehension
- A rigorous background check to make sure the applicant has no past criminal records. This could make it longer to get a visa. Or it could be used as an excuse to deny the visa to somebody even if there are no available criminal records.
- Applicants would have to undergo labor market testing to determine their level of experience and expertise. There is no clear guideline how the test would be done or graded as of now.
This leaves applicants at the mercy of visa officials.
For many immigrants with permanent residency visa, the next logical step is to apply for citizenship after a while. That is if they love the country and want to continue living there as citizens.
According to the Government, the new rules were introduced to make sure only suitable people who believed completely in want they called ‘Australia values’ are granted citizenship.
One of the obvious changes is that people applying for citizenship must have lived for at least four years in Australia with the permanent residency visa. This effectively eliminates those on a two-year permanent residency visa
Other changes include:
- A stricter English language proficiency test to include good grades in writing, reading and speaking.
- Candidates must show clear evidence of having fully integrated into the community in which they are living. Integration factors in employment history, enrollment in educational institutions and being active members of community organizations.
- Show evidence of belief in religious tolerance
- Must show that they respect the rights of everybody especially women and kids. They must also prove they respect women completely
- Applicants can apply for citizenship only three times. And any applicant caught cheat on a test is disqualified automatically without recourse to any form of appeal.
These new rules only apply to new applicants.