04 June 2010

Students protest changes to Australia’s new SOL

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Hundreds of international students held a peaceful rally in Sydney yesterday, protesting against the changes to the new Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL).

The new Australian SOL, excludes many occupations previously included like hairdressers and chefs.

The rally moved from Sydney Town Hall up to the Australian Immigration Department offices near Central Railway Station.

The organiser of the rally, the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) released a statement that said the students were upset over the government’s amendments to the skilled occupation list and that existing transitory measures were unfair to students who have acted in good faith in the pursuit of Australian education to become skilled independent migrants.

The statement said many students have invested a substantial amount of time, effort and money to enhance their knowledge in a skilled area of practice, only to find that their options to further that career are now severely limited.

It is only fair that these genuine cases should be treated that same as existing Temporary Residency (485) visa holders and be allowed to apply for a skilled (independent) Australian Visa with the current SOL, the federation stated.

AFIS NSW Executive Prateek Aggarwal, said the Australian government “should also be mindful that graduating international students acting on good faith and planning to become skilled independent workers should not be disadvantaged and put into a state of anxiety.
“More appropriate transitory measures are needed,” he said.

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