Australia’s new Skilled Occupations list [SOL] for immigration:Changes which were overdue!

Senator Chris Evans, Minister of Immigration of Australia has announced the new Skilled Occupations list [SOL] today.

It has excluded cookery, hair-dressing, community welfare and other low value trades/skills from this list but it does have doctors, Engineers, nurses, teachers, construction workers, IT professionals and accountants among others. I liked this list and support it fully. I spoke on this matter today and here are the links.

As we all know, Australia’s international education is [or at least, it has been until recently] a significant source of income ie about $15 Billion/year and has been quoted to be the third biggest source of the economy. It has grown dramatically over the last few years. Chinese and Indian students were the backbone of this growth. This growth was more true for the private vocational sector as compared to the University/TAFE sector. It was estimated that about 80-85% of Indian students came to Australia to study in the private sector, most commonly in cookery related courses, hairdressing and community welfare. To cater to the increasing demands, a lot of private schools were opened by entrepreneurs, many of them did not provide proper and good quality of education. Exploitation of students was rampant and unfortunately, the quality control mechanisms were not as active as they should have been. When the problems in this sector were brought out in the open by Indian and Australian media and quality issues were taken up with seriousness by Australian agencies as a result, many of these private schools started to close down, leading to more difficulties to the students.

With the assaults on Indian students and hysterical and often exaggerated reporting by Indian media which damaged Australia’s reputation, Australian agencies finally decided to take the remedial actions to clean this sector. Multiple task forces were set-up and serious reviews were done. It became quite clear that Australia’s international education system has been rorted by many students, some migration agents and some education agents. Some students came to Australia with no interests to study. Even human smuggling has been mentioned as a way to send some so-called students to Australia. Some of these students had poor English, educational and financial backgrounds. False certificates of all sorts and even contract marriages were employed to bring the so-called spouses in many cases.

Many of these students were applying for the PR visa even though they did not have the requisite qualifications to be able to find the employment. They were able to get the PR only because their trades of cookery and hair-dressing were in the preferred list for immigration.There was a serious question of the suitability of these people to become immigrants of this country.

Finally, something has to be done and new skills list is the outcome.

Skills Australia-an independent body has helped bring this list out. This list will be updated annually.

Senator Evans has outlined that Australia’s immigration programme will be demand-driven, not supply-driven. He said that Australia needs teachers, doctors, nurses and IT professionals, not cooks and hair-dressers. He also said that Australia’s immigration programme can not be controlled or driven by international education only. Senator Evans is spot on here.

These changes were overdue but as people say, it is still better late than never.

Australia should attract and encourage the right type of immigrants with qualifications which we need.

International education and PR should not be linked. It was never linked in a legal sense but an expectation of this “link” was created by the marketing agents. It was known to every one including Australian agencies that PR lure was responsible for the spectacular growth of students numbers from India and China. Having said that, these students came to Australia because Australia allowed them.

While I support this new skills list whole-heartedly, I am concerned about the plight of those students who are already here. They and their parents have invested a lot of money-often mortgaged their homes and farms to send them to Australia. They came here with the expectation of PR and this was not totally their mistake. They came here under previous rules and had valid reasons to hold an expectation for PR Visa after completing the diploma.

The current and changed situation has shattered their hopes. This is akin to a humanitarian tragedy for them and their families. It is going to have a very serious ramification for some of them.

I do believe that some significantly fair transitional steps should be taken to consider their situation, provided they meet the English, training and work experience standards. I am generally against retrospective rules and their case is a classical example where it should not be implemented retrospectively.

Is there a case for a fairer transitional steps/strategies in these matters?

While I congratulate Senator Evans for this new Skills list, my view is also in favour of fairer transitional steps in this matter and I believe that there is a very strong case for this approach!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/17th May, 2010

14 thoughts on “Australia’s new Skilled Occupations list [SOL] for immigration:Changes which were overdue!

  1. i assume aussie education imcome will drop to 10Billion in the following 3 years due to it’s notorious immi rules. and the new skills list, the IT professionals are not on the list of WA. the immi is more prefer low value workers than high value workers.

    New Immigration Law of Australia turns millions of Asian Students’ hope who graduated from local university with high education degree into dream:

    So far, since 1 July, 2012, Australian IMMI has introduced a new way to rule the immigrants called “Skillselect”, which is similar to the “refugee” processing system.

    There are several critical points need to be aware:
    1. You are unable to submit any visa application actively if you go through points system.
    2. You need to address your interest by submitting some information to the system and waiting for the ranking system. just like the day we were in high school, the system will rank you from highest point to the lowest point.
    3. The occupation ceiling, that says in each year, there are only certain number of applicants with highest points will have the chance to be invited by the government or state to apply for the visa if your occupation is on the demanded occupation list. for example, the occupation ceiling for project manger is 1500 this year, if submit your interest early after July, and your points you claim is as high as possible, and within the top 1500 ranks, you are likely to be invited to apply for visa. otherwise, a basic 60 points of you is unlikely to be invited. in fact, you gotta know there are heaps of people want immigrate to australia. it’s not like apply as you could before July.
    4..Meanwhile, the circumstances for skills students going through points system is further harsher than ever before, the another path via employee sponsorship is as easy as possible, the english requirements is as low as 5.0 on each of IELTS, with 2 years working experience of vias 457.
    5. another fact is that the english requirements for going point system is as minimum as 7.0 which is saying even if you are from english speaking country, if you want to claim 10 points, you must pass IELTS test and achieve 7.0 on each. that being said, the english requirements to a non-english speaking resident is even harder than the english speaking resident. the question arise here is that is it really necessary for a worker to get 7.0 in order to work in the market? is it reasonable? or just red tape? as far as i know, there are many workers living in australia without a high education degree and IELTES 7.0 still can work without a problem. why the australian immi is so fussy with skills students.
    6. it is expected that the new immigration rule will damage the australian education industry, and australian hospitality reputation, given that the new rule simply indicates simpley come to australia finishing a high education degree and then migrate is mission impossible. and it is not worthwhile to study in australia, because the tuition is extremely expensive, and no work opportunity for foreign students, spectacularly if you are from asia, you are unlikely to find a job in local market given that 98% of aussie employers only hire aussie, and discrimination against asian people in australia is illegal but ubiquitous.
    7. if you are too lucky to find a work contract of 2 years, the employer sponsors you, and your IELTS test is 7.0 on each item, and you live in regional area like Perth, and sponsored by a state, that saying total points 75 is like to get your visa secured

    In summary, if you are an international student from Asia, and you want to immigrate to australia after you paid $60,000 two years course fee to useless australian university for a master degree, it is just a dream! Australian immi is more prefer low sill workers such as caravan park manager, life guard rather than knowledgeable master degree students. it is understood the high education qualification at local is useless, over-qualified, not appreciated, under-estimated, and undermined.


  2. When australian authorities say that immigration process is different than international education both should never linked together its really bullshit as to apply for PR or any other onshore application 2 years study is necessary its all crap aussi immigration made such subclasses to attract students and now they say it dosent work in that manner.


  3. i want to know about the the whole autralia process what changes have occured and also know about the point system and categories who can apply for pr


  4. Pingback: The new SOL saga… | Deepti Sachdeva

  5. Hi, i just wanted to state that what about people who are studying or have finished masters degrees such as an M.B.A, now arent these students “good quality”? the fact that they have acomplished a masters degree shows that they have come from a good educational background, have good international work ex. and exposure…but such graduates dont fit into the australians standards??


    • what a pity, the sad and harsh reality is that aussie gov does not appreciate high education master degree international students! they simply pay $60,000 for the nation, and then please leave. because it is impossible for them to find a job in a local harsh , competitive market given that 98% aussine company only hires aussie only. and you can not apply for visa actively. you have to achieve ielts 7.0 on each which is even harder than the english specking residents, besides you need to be ranked by the ranking system, and subject to the occupation ceiling, and your occupation certainly needed on the LIST..In WA, the IT professionals is not on the list. however, the low value workers are always on the list.


  6. Dr Yadu Singh, The list is totally on the expected lines. No real surprises here. Cookery and Hairdressing were to be removed was an open secret. The transitional arrangements allow all those who are on the 485 visa (skilled grad) to be able to PR using the current SOL (not the new one) and all those who were enrolled as student in Feb to be able to get 485 visa even if they apply till December 2012. I feel that it is fair.

    However, it seems that all have got fooled by the steps this year. This is the first time when the changes are announced and SOL suspended but new SOL is announced two months later. Even now, it is only half the story. The point system is to change by July. Only then will we know if the genuine quality students are able to add up the points and get PR or still have to go through 485 visa and employment first. These are the questions.

    Also hidden behind all this is the skills assessment system. For example ICAA and ICPA and NIA have somehow managed to work together (or have been instructed) to change their IELTS to 7.0 score in all bands. I can understand such a high requirement for Nurses and Doctors and possibly even teachers but for accountants… it baffles me. Not overall 7.0 but 7.0 in all bands. Its a way of keeping them out.

    I feel that this being the election year, things are going to be like this.

    Indian community needs to come together and ask for a better risk assessment level for the “university sector”. Currently India is at 4 along with Nigeria and Pakistan. Even Iraq and Afghanistan is better. This needs to change.


    • thanks for your speech , indian students have still hope to get pr over here . we are expecting some favourable steps for students from australian govt.we are hoping for some changes in our favour by the point system coming in july 2010.thanks you


    • Thank you Ravi for your comments. I doubt it that Indian community leaders will do anything in these matters. Many such leaders haven’t got a clue about the concept of “leadership”.

      Yadu Singh


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