Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Aus point system to weed out low quality overseas students

Australia is all set to announce its amended point system that would swap cookery and hair-dressing students with scientists, encouraging high skill professionals to settle down in the country. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is scheduled to announce in Sydney tomorrow (November 11) the new points system that is aimed at toughening the rules of gaining permanent residency for overseas students with low quality qualifications, The Australian reported.

The new rules will encourage high skill workers and swap hair-dressing students with scientists. In China, Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans rejected any suggestion the Commonwealth should compensate education providers for lost income. "It's not about us making up the shortfall. I mean, universities are a business," he was quoted as saying. Some universities have gone into the international student market in a larger way than others.

"Amending its old system that allowed easy access to PR through enrolling into courses like hairdressing and hospitality, now graduates will have to fit within July's new skilled occupation list, which gives prominence to high-skill jobs in health and engineering, and pass a strict new points test.

"The current weighting of points test factors leads to perverse outcomes such as the situation where a Harvard qualified environmental scientist with three years' relevant work experience would fail the points test, while an overseas student who completes a 92-week course in a 60-point occupation (such as cookery or hairdressing) would, with one year's experience, pass," a discussion paper issued by Department of Immigration and Citizenship said. The test gave an advantage to low-skill occupations on the Migration Occupations in Demand List, which was axed in February by Senator Evans when he was immigration minister.

Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said a reformed points test would allow the government "to apply a more discriminating filter to select the best applicants". This was possible because earlier decisions had slashed the number of points-tested places available while the number of former students seeking those places had risen sharply. The discussion paper said in these circumstances, "Australia can, and should, select the best and brightest migrants for independent migration".

Senator Evans said universities understood the danger of becoming too reliant on one market. "I think most of them have managed that risk quite sensibly over the years," he said adding "They know they're vulnerable to such movements, as other industries are, and they'll just have to manage that as they work through the issues."

Source: The Economic Times (Online Edition), November 10, 2010
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