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Australia announces intention to reduce migration intake by half in 2 years   

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The Australian government has announced its intention to cut the migration intake by half within two years.  

Nairametrics learns that the move is to address the perceived issues in the country’s immigration system by reducing the annual intake to 250,000, aligning with pre-pandemic levels by June 2025. 

The introduced measures include heightened minimum English-language requirements for international students and increased scrutiny for those seeking a second visa.

Applicants must now demonstrate that further study would significantly contribute to their academic aspirations or career development. 

The tightening of visa rules will extend to international students and low-skilled workers in an effort to alleviate pressure on housing and infrastructure caused by record migration levels. 

What the Minister said 

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil in unveiling a new 10-year immigration strategy, criticized the previous government for leaving the migration system “in tatters.” 

A review earlier in the year identified the system as “badly broken” and called for major reform due to its unnecessary complexity, sluggishness, and inefficiency.

What the measures include 

The proposed measures include stricter English-language requirements for international students and increased scrutiny for those seeking a second visa.

The government aims to bring migration numbers under control by reducing the annual intake by approximately 50% through this measures. 

Nonetheless, the reforms will enhance visa pathways for migrants with specialized or essential skills, such as highly-skilled tech workers or care workers, offering better prospects of permanent residency. 

According to Minister O’Neil, these policies will attract the necessary workers for Australia while mitigating the risk of exploitation for those residing, working, and studying in the country. 

During a media briefing on Monday, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil unveiled a new 10-year immigration strategy, emphasizing that the migration system had been severely compromised by the previous government.

A recent review identified the system as “badly broken,” citing unnecessary complexity, slowness, and inefficiency, prompting a call for “major reform.” 

Immigration numbers in Australia 

Australia witnessed a record influx of people as at June 2023. Official data indicates that there are around 650,000 foreign students in Australia, with a considerable number on their second visa.

Minister O’Neil therefore acknowledged the need to “bring numbers back under control” and announced plans to reduce the annual migration intake by approximately 50%. 

However, opposition migration spokesman Dan Tehan has criticized the government for being slow to adjust migration policies to aid Australia’s recovery from the pandemic. 

However others, like the Business Council of Australia, have said migrants are being used as a scapegoat for a lack of investment in affordable housing and decades of poor housing policy. 


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