Australia’s new immigration policy aims to let in only the professionals it needs and to tell its citizens that their jobs will not be taken by immigrants in times of recession. It comes as a huge concern for Indian students in Australia as it has toughened its immigration laws and has brought down the list of professions which qualify for immigration from 400 to 181. Over the last one year, Indians have been at the receiving end of Australian racial attacks and mindless street violence. The tough new rules on the grant of student visas and permanent residence status will make it much harder for Indians to go to Australia.
Students who are already in Australia will be allowed to complete their courses but may have to return after a grace period. UK and Canada too have cracked down on immigrants from India.Australian High Commissioner, Peter Verghese said, “We want students to come to Australia to study. We want them to come to Australia to do a course which they judge is in their best interests. We want to separate out the study pathway from the migration pathway.”
It is clarified that beginning July 1, the number of visa-eligible jobs will drop from 400 to 181. The number of Indian students in Australia had exploded from just 8,000 in 2005 to a 100,000 in 2010. The growing visibility of Indians and shrinking jobs in Australia led to friction and a violent backlash. Graduates in cooking, hairstyling and gardening courses cannot hope for permanent residence. Instead, preference will be given to those on the new Skilled Occupations List which includes engineers, accountants, teachers, nurses, even welders and midwives.