Australian Migration Trends
The Australian immigration policy has changed significantly during the last 20 years. One of the main shifts is turning the focus from the family and humanitarian migration to economic migration.
Working Holiday Makers and Students
As of July this year, there were approx. 160,000 working holiday makers in Australia, 40,000 of whom applying for a second-year visa. While there are no restrictions on the type of work done under the 1st Working holiday visa, you need to have completed three months specified work (construction work including) in regional Australia while on your first year Working Holiday visa in order to qualify for the Second Working holiday visa.
The rough number of people on a student visa in Australia in the mid of the year was 300,000. International students are usually allowed to work up to 40 hours, in any job in Australia.
457 visa holders and migrants
Another major shift in the migration program was the introduction of routes for temporary workers to be sponsored by Australian employers for up to 4 years, mainly through the Australian Sponsorship visa, subclass 457.
Although the Government releases a list of approved occupations for temporary migrants, which is updated once a year, it’s actually the business that determines the skills shortages and requests what occupations to be included on that list.
That has caused recently an over-supply of some skilled occupations on the labour market. Also, it’s very popular to get a skilled migrant visa while you are on a sponsorship visa, so a large number of permanent residents are coming to a great extent from the private sector.
Work visa for low skilled workers
It’s been discussed recently that the work conditions under the various visa types in Australia are not clearly determined as working holidaymakers and students are not officially considered ‘work’ visa holders but they are in fact participants on the labour market.
A possible solution for making migration policy clearer on this is introducing a visa option for low and semi-skilled migrant workers, again, after careful consideration of the local job opportunities and trends.
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