Australia eases norms to woo highly-skilled immigrants

New Delhi: Australia is keen to woo skilled professionals from India and elsewhere to migrate to it, given the growing opportunities in medicine, engineering and other niche sectors in the post-global financial crisis scenario, by relaxing some of its procedures, an official said.

Beginning July 1, Australia is introducing a new migration system that will allow concessions to professionals with high-quality qualification and work experience in the specific sectors to attract talent.

“Migration has made an enormous contribution to Australia as we know it today, providing economic, social and cultural benefits. Over the years, the migration programme has always been adjusted by successive governments in response to economic, social and political factors,” Australia’s Immigration and Citizenship Department Assistant Secretary Peter Speldewinde said.

Among changes in the existing system, would be age relaxations for highly qualified professionals and recognition to qualifications acquired abroad and work experience.

Though one in every four Australians is a migrant, India has been concerned over reported racial attacks on Indian-origin settlers in Australia over the last two years. But Speldewinde said Australia has initiated necessary actions and put in place systems to prevent such attacks in the future.

His department will introduce a new two-stage points system under which an applicant would fill up an electronic “expression of interest” with adequate biographic data and a self-assessment of his set skills.

“On the basis of self-assessment and validly completed registration system, scores would be given. On that basis of ranking, Australia will make offers on wide ranging of occupations on the basis of highest rank,” Speldewinde said.

However, he cautioned that if applicants over-stated their qualities, it would invite penalties in the form of forfeiture of visa fee, English language test fees and a three-year ban on migration.

“We are looking at persons migrating on unsponsored basis… not coming for a job, but as migrants on a permanent basis, looking to compete in Australian labour market based on their skills and experience. Underpinning it is the points test. As of July 1, 2011, we will change the points test. This change was announced on Nov 11 last year,” he said.

For highly skilled doctors and scientists, the previous age limit of 45 years has been relaxed to 50 years in the new system, but these professionals will have to be highly qualified, as they would not get points for age.

Those in the age group of 25 to 32 years will get more points for the advantage of being young. “The reason we did this is that after a job market analysis is that their average life earning potential is much higher than those older,” the official said.

In the existing system, overseas qualification and work experience is not counted and purely Australian qualification and experience is considered for offering migrations. But now, even those with high quality qualification in institutions such as Delhi University or Harvard or Oxford will be eligible.

But the new system would earn the applicants points for both overseas qualification and work experience, either from abroad or within Australia, Speldewinde added. (IANS)