11 April 2007

New hope for Brits looking for a new life Down Under

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Changes announced by the Minister for Australian Immigration and Citizenship to Australia’s points-based immigration program will make it easier for English speaking Brits to emigrate to Australia.

Starting 1 September 2007, additional points will be granted to those willing to take a Standard English language proficiency test, meaning more points for more Brits.

Previously, applicants born in the United Kingdom, (UK) were not required to sit an International English language test (IELTS) test. Applicants were effectively granted a maximum of 20 points for English language ability based on ancestry. With the new changes, applicants can now qualify for 25 points if they achieve a score 7.0 of above in the IELTS test.

‘This is a clear signal from the Australian Government that being a English speaker is as important as having valuable and in demand skills,’ said Andy  Harwood, a spokesperson for the Australian Visa Bureau. ‘Australia has been pursuing migrants with a high level of skills and education, but want to place a renewed emphasis on communication in the workplace and community. The Australian economy is growing and needs people who can enter the workforce immediately.’

‘Immigration to Australia is competitive, and what may seem like only 5 points in the grand scheme of things, will mean the difference between thousands of nurses, bricklayers, engineers and IT specialist being able or unable to emigrate Down Under,’ said Harwood. ‘It’s good news for those who were previously on the threshold; these changes will make a significant difference to the overall number of Brits able to emigrate anywhere they chose in Australia.’

The Minister, Kevin Andrews, announced the changes amid a restructuring of the Australian Skilled Migration Program. The changes stem from a series of reports aiming to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the country’s migration program.
In addition to the language change noted above, work experience criteria as well as the total number of visa sub-classes for Australia have diminished.

The full list of changes can be found here: http://www.visabureau.com/australia/visa-changes.aspx

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