12 November 2010

Migration Institute welcomes new points test but says there are still contentious elements

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The announcement yesterday by the Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on the long awaited new points test for general skilled migration has been welcomed by the Migration Institute of Australia (MIA).

 The new Skilled Points Test offers surety and clarity to potential migrants, and includes several useful changes to tailor Australia’s migrant intake to its skills needs.

Several MIA recommendations regarding flexibility of applicant age and work experience have been accepted in the new test, allowing for the first time 45-49 years old workers to apply for migration.

The MIA believes this is a particularly sound provision, reflecting both shifts in the workforce age and the Australian value of fairness.

The Institute further commends the Government and the Australian Immigration Minister for the long lead time allowed before the Test’s planned 1 July 2011 implementation, a happy change from many recent “effective immediately” Migration Program policy announcements.

However, this announcement is not without contentious elements, CEO Maurene Horder said.
“We note the levels of English required and the points awarded appear onerous and may exacerbate Australia’s skill shortages,” cautioned MIA CEO Maurene Horder.

“The reality is that many native speakers would find an IELTS 8 English language score difficult to achieve.”

The test’s qualifications balance is similarly an issue.

Trade qualifications and apprenticeship programs are now under-regarded in favour of tertiary qualifications, especially PhD programs, and a more balanced Migration Program is essential to addressing endemic skills shortages.

“The proof of this new Points Test will be in the testing,” said Horder.

“Once we see who is passing and who is failing, then we will be able to take full measure of this overdue change.”

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