Australia is set to make significant changes to its immigration policy over the next two years. The country aims to substantially reduce its net migration, targeting a decrease from the recent high of 510,000 to around half this number. This reduction will be achieved through more stringent requirements for international students and a focus on accepting workers with higher skill levels.
Projections indicate that net migration figures will drop to approximately 250,000 in the fiscal years 2024-25 and 2025-26, aligning with the numbers seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local media outlets highlight that if these new policies don't meet the target of reducing migrant numbers to 250,000 by June 2025, the government may consider more controversial steps, such as limiting the number of student visas or increasing visa application fees.
Key to these changes is the implementation of tougher English proficiency tests for international students. The government also plans to introduce more rigorous checks for those applying for a second visa, potentially affecting the duration of their stay in the country, as reported by VisaGuide.World.
Starting October 1, 2023, international students seeking an Australian visa were asked to show a minimum savings of $24,505, marking a 17% increase from the previous requirement. The government warns of increased scrutiny, particularly for high-risk groups, and the introduction of more stringent documentation to prevent fraudulent student visa applications.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a significant increase in international student arrivals in July, with 131,640 students representing an 85% increase or an additional 60,420 students compared to the previous year.
Currently, over 650,000 international students reside in Australia, with a significant portion opting to extend their studies through a second course. Notably, 150,000 of these students hold a second student visa.
Img title: Australia skilled migrants
The government has also adjusted the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, an essential earnings test. Now set at $70,000, this threshold will be indexed to ensure that only full-time workers with in-demand skills and salaries above this level can enter the country.
In contrast to the government's initial forecast in October last year, which estimated net migration at 235,000 for the year ending June 2023, the revised projection in May this year predicts around 400,000. This update also revealed that the actual intake had reached 510,000.
Img title: Australia Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil assures that the new measures will lead to a reduction in the intake to 375,000 in the year ending June 2024 and further down to 250,000 in the following year. The government asserts that these policy decisions will result in a decrease of 65,000 migrants in the current financial year and an additional 60,000 in the next year.