22 July 2009

Australian Student Visa holders may miss out on permanent residency

A research paper has estimated more than 40,000 students on an Australian Student Visa who expected to gain permanent residency in Australia may not qualify because of recent policy changes.

Study in Australia

A new research paper has been released on the effects the Rudd Governments changed immigration policies will have on those studying in Australia.

The Rudd Government has removed most vocational trades, including plumbing, welding and carpentry from its critial skills priority list, making it harder for international students with those qualifications to gain permanent residency.

Monash University demographer Bob Birrell says the changes implemented earlier this year, were not getting through to the international student community.

He said enrolments in vocational training were on the rise and most on an Australian Student Visa expected their qualifications would lead to permanent residency.

In a new paper, Dr Birrell estimated more than 40,000 international students with vocational skills had applied for permanent residency, adding however, that their Australian visa status was currently "in limbo".

"The changes will make it much more difficult for those students to obtain permanent residency," he told AAP.

But Dr Birrell said there remained other paths for students to gain permanent residency.

Their applications would be processed if the Government's 2009-10 target of 180,000 skilled migration visas was not met.

They could also access an Australian visa, the Skilled Graduate Temporary Visa ( subclass 485), which would allow them to work for 18 months, during which time they could apply for permanent residency.

Dr Birrell said the Rudd Government needed to ensure that changes to the migration policy were crystal clear to overseas countries.

The Federal Opposition agreed, saying students should know their Australian visa rights and obligations before they decided to study in Australia.

The research paper, Immigration Policy Change and the International Student Industry, will be published in Monash University's quarterly publication People and Place.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Australian visas and immigration

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