Ten years a go, when I was considering whether I should stay permanently in Australia and make a life here or to go back to Indonesia, I was shocked to find that my Australian master’s degree was valued less than a hairdressing certificate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think being a hairdresser is less important than being a construction manager. Every woman (and man) on earth knows how difficult it is to find and trust a good hairdresser who could handle their hair gently and don’t make them look like electrocuted Ozzy Osbourne.
But I was kinda hurt that even though I paid more tuition fee, had much less fun (do you prefer to visit muddy project sites or to chat with clients in a air conditioned-room while massaging their scalps?), and endured much less sleep during my study, I was less valuable in front of Australian government’s eyes. I had a colleague who studied to be a nail technician, and she seemed to be able to work every single day in perfectly manicured nails (of course), hair and make-up as she had more time to spend in front of the mirror, only need to spend about two hours a week studying, never slap her forehead for forgetting to return the books to the library and never had to rush in to work in half-awake state after spending the night at the lab trying to finish an assignment or two. Another friend actually ditched her IT course to learn about cooking, as it gave her more chance for her PR application.
But Daily Telegraph reported that “the Government will today reveal it will crack down on people manipulating Australia’s immigration system, taking up “low-value” education courses as a means of seeking permanent residency.”
Another article from the same newspaper said more than 20,000 foreigners who applied to migrate to Australia before September 2007 under outdated rules that allowed lower English skills will have their applications withdrawn and their $1500-$2000 applications fees refunded under the changes.
“The current points test puts an overseas student with a short-term vocational qualification gained in Australia ahead of a Harvard-educated environmental scientist,” Senator Evans said. The new system is likely to give potential migrants more points if they are qualified in certain high-value professions and trades, went to a prestigious university, have more experience and display excellence in English.
In last week’s budget, the Government announced it would hold the migration intake steady at 168,700 places but 5750 places were cut from the family program to boost the skilled stream to 113,850 places.
The new list of skills will apply from July 1 and will be updated annually by Skills Australia on advice from industry.
If you’re thinking about working and/or living permanently in Australia, these links might be useful: