Emigration from Australia is big and not inconsequential!

ImageWhen people leave a country, it is called emigration. When they come to a country, it is called immigration.

In case of Australia, emigration has increased significantly since mid 1990s. 91 761 left Australia in 2012-13. 52.7% of these people were born overseas. This was 51.1 % a year earlier. Rest were Australia-born.

People born in NZ formed the biggest component (10%) of emigration of overseas-born migrants, followed by UK-born (8.2%), China-born (7%), Hong Kong-born (2.7%) and then USA-born (1.4%) people.

A majority of these overseas-born emigrants returned to the country of their birth. Majority of these people had lived in Australia for more than 5 years.

Emigration of Australia-born was largely (44%) to UK, USA and NZ, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE, and was largely for better jobs/incomes.

62.9% of total emigrants were in skilled jobs before they left.

Emigration is not just a simple movement of people from Australia. It has an impact on multiple fronts as it creates not only a significant change in overall population, but it also creates loss of skills in addition to lack of return on the investment-social or otherwise on these people. On the benefit side, it generates trading links between Australia and the countries these emigrants are going to, facilitates access to markets in those countries, increases remittances from those countries, in addition to bringing back new skills if/when these emigrants return back to Australia.

What can be done to reduce emigration:

While it is true that many factors operate for why people emigrate. While some people leave Australia for family reasons, it is presumed that economic reasons will be pretty important too. Some serious research is needed to have a better understanding about this matter

Anecdotally, and if you speak with migrants, many express a particular concern, which needs some attention by policy makers and Govt leaders.

Many highly skilled migrants find it difficult to get a job which is commensurate with their education and skills. Lack of local (Australian) experience is often quoted to deny the jobs which they deserve and are qualified for. There is often a glass-ceiling. This can/should be changed with a systemic approach to help skilled migrants get a job for which they are well qualified. They can be under some supervision for 3-6 months, if necessary.

Employers can/should be given some incentives to employ these highly qualified and skilled migrants. It does not make any sense to attract skilled migrants to Australia and do nothing to help them settle in the country or in fact do something which discourages them to stay here.

To not do anything to help them settle in Australia has an adverse impact not only on our economy because these migrants have much needed skills which they take away with them while moving away to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE and other countries, but also it causes serious impact on migrants themselves with many experiencing disillusionment and even depression.

This is an important issue for Australia. Westpac research (see Jennifer West’s comments in the article link) outlines that newer migrants generate 200 billions annually, which is not a small amount by any count. It’s about time that Immigration Dept and Employment Departments of various State/Territory Govts should look into this matter seriously.

This topic was covered by Australian media (Lisa Cornish) recently, for which I was interviewed.

http://mobile.news.com.au/national/australias-migrants-leaving-their-new-home-in-search-of-a-better-life/story-fncynjr2-1226810397650

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/28th Jan, 2014

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New point system for Australian immigration.

Australian Immigration minister, Chris Bowen had announced a new point system for migration program on 11th Nov, 2010. It will be effective from 1st July, 2011.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/migrant-skills-go-to-the-top-of-the-list/story-e6frgcjx-1225950294947

A fact sheet is available at the following link:

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/gener…oints-fact.pdf

A FAQ is available by following this link:

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/gener…ts-testfaq.pdf

Yadu Singh/Sydney/26th Nov, 2010

A Blog & a brilliant editorial on Visa Capping Bill 2010:a must read!

Yadu Singh dryadusingh

http://tinyurl.com/2b8zvkz Visa capping bill 2010 is a disgrace-says this Blog.

I am enclosing an editorial  by Pawan Luthra, Editor, Indian Link newspaper. He has written a very pertinent and a brilliant piece on this matter. Thank you, Pawan.

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“The Visa capping issue

… is becoming the international students’ worst nightmare, says PAWAN LUTHRA

Minister Chris Evans could have the power to effectively order potential migration applications to be declared null and void if the Migration Amendment (Visa Capping) Bill is passed. This means that applicants will not be given a chance to appeal this decision and will have to leave the country within 28 days. With the Coalition remaining quiet on this and a minimal fuss from the Greens, chances of this becoming law are strong. Those most affected are potential migrants, a number of whom are students who may have studied in Australia for over two years. They have contributed thousands of dollars to the Australian economy, been model guests in this country and, in the future, could do Australia proud.

But now they’re becoming victims this game of politics masterminded by the Labor government which has been caught flat footed from the events in the student community since the past year. It is a transparent tactic of the Labor government, seeking to deflect focus from its refugee policies. It is easier to lay blame for the expansion of the student and migration market on the Howard government, rather than work to capture this special resource of talent already existing in the country. Caught within this political crossfire are the hopes and aspirations of thousands who have been waiting for over two years to have their visa applications processed and who now may have jobs, partners, children and other assets. They may have to abandon all this, as the possibility of being thrown out of the country within 28 days of Minister Evans decision imminently looms.

The Migration Amendment (Visa Capping) Bill 2010 would enable the minister to cap the number of visas issued in a given year to applicants with “specified characteristics.” This could include chefs or hairdressers or any other occupation. Once the designated annual cap is reached – which could conceivably be set at zero – all outstanding visa applications with the same characteristics will be terminated. So its wasted dollars for someone who has spent thousands in getting their health checks, skills assessed and qualifications recognised. Yes, the visa application fee will be refunded, but all other costs will be borne by the applicant. This does not include the cost of education which the applicant may have embarked upon in Australia with a dream of applying for residence based on the general intent of the laws at that time.

What the Labor government is doing isn’t wrong, but the sentiment is indeed immoral.

As depicted in the famous Australian movie, The Castle, Daryl Kerrigan fought a property development company which wanted to acquire his house to extend the airport. In the climax, the barrister representing Kerrigan said that it was not a house which the property developer was acquiring; it was a home of dreams and memories. Similarly, a migration application can be terminated abruptly and without notice, but it is at the priceless cost of destroying the dreams and ambitions of thousands of potential migrants. It is a heartrending sight and their despair is palpable.

Now is the time for community leaders to speak up and fight for the rights of these students. Public statements and petitions have been made by well intentioned individuals; but it is time that our Indian associations take this cause forward, in a test of true and vocal leadership. Visa capping in its current form is wrong and this message needs to be sent, loud and clear, to Canberra and the Rudd government.”

Editorial by Pawan Luthra

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Similarly, Anuj Kulshrestha, Editor, Hindi Gaurav, has written a great piece on this matter. He has included comments from some of the leaders from “Friends of International students” with his write-up. Thank you, Anuj.

http://www.hindigaurav.com/community-news-0-65

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Indian Sub-Continent Times [ http://www.theistimes.com/mr-evans-its-democracy-not-anarchy/ ] has written a great article on this issue too. Thank you, Ashok Kumar.

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Please click www.fairgo4internationalstudents.org/ and support the petition against this Bill.

“United we win, divided we lose”.

Regards

Yadu Singh/Sydney/28th June, 2010

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SBS Radio [Hindi]:my interview on Visa capping bill 2010.

http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/player/page/day/Sunday/time/09/channel/3

It starts at 35.15 and goes until 45.oo minutes.

Ms Kumud Merani was the interviewer.

This covers the Australian Migration Amendment [Visa capping] Bill 2010. Some people have called this Bill as “cap and cull” Bill.

Please see a detailed post on this Bill in my Blog.

Yadu Singh, Sydney/13th June, 2010

Migration amendment [Visa capping Bill] 2010:what is it all about?

Australian Migration Amendment [Visa Capping Bill] 2010 has been through the Lower House of Australian Parliament last month. It is currently with a committee of the Senate. People have been asked to send their submissions. I understand that people can still send their submissions.

Visa Capping Bill has caused severe anxiety among the International students as it has certain features which may have some serious impact on their chances to be Permanent Residents in Australia. Their anxieties are outlined very clearly in their comments to the National Interest programme of ABC Radio National, anchored by Peter Mares who interviewed Minister Evans. Mark Webster who is an expert in this area and is the chair of Migration Institute of Australia, NSW chapter and Peter Mares had also written summaries on this matter.

Here are the links of this Radio National programme and other relevant write ups.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/nationalinterest/stories/2010/2918752.htm

http://inside.org.au/capping-and-culling-the-migration-queue/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/death-knell-for-overseas-students/story-e6frg6nf-1225878156303?from=public_rss

http://www.acacia-au.com/general_skilled_migration_changes_8_feb_2010.php

http://www.acacia-au.com/GSM_changes_impact_on_international_students.php

http://www.acacia-au.com/frequently_asked_migration_questions_student_forum.php

http://www.acacia-au.com/Minister_Seeks_Power_to_Terminate_Visa_Applications.php

http://www.acacia-au.com/comments_on_chris_evans_immigration_capping_bill.php

I enclose the link from Dept of Immigration website on this matter too.

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/migration-amendment.htm

As we recall, Minister Evans has been saying that Australia wants to have a demand-driven Immigration programme, not a supply driven programme. He has mentioned that we have an oversupply of cooks and hair-dressers. Instead of them, we need doctors, nurses, engineers etc.

To achieve this result, he has done several things. One was to bring out this new Skilled Occupations List [SOL]. Others included putting a temporary freeze on granting Visa from the beginning of May 2010.

Visa Capping Bill is the latest instrument which Minister wants to have it passed by the Parliament. This will give him the power to manage the Skills categories and the types of migrants which are needed in Australia. With this power, Minister can outline “characteristics” of the applicants and apply a cap on the number of Visa given to that category  in a particular year. After that number has reached, all remaining applications are “terminated” as if they have never been made. “Termination” is different from “rejection” because “terminated” applicants will not have a right to challenge that “termination”. The application fees for such applications will be returned but it will not include fees one has paid for migration advice, medicals and other associated expenses.

About 61000 places are available for the General Skilled Migration [GSM] places for the next year. There are already 147000 applicants for GSM in the queue right now and more than 25% of them [38990] are from International students who have completed their studies in Australia. 17594 are cooks and hair-dressers alone. Quite a lot are on bridging Visa, awaiting the final decisions from the Immigration dept. Let me give an example to clarify things here. If Minister Evans picks the characteristic “Cooks” and applies a “Cap” of a certain number [likely to be a small number], then all remaining applicants from “Cooks” category will be “terminated” even though these applicants have been on the waiting list for decisions for years. These “terminated” applicants will have 28 days to leave Australia. This is where the anxiety is coming from.

If you see the comments in the Radio National programme and the submissions to the Senate committee, people have been in Australia for many years. They have sacrificed a lot. They had to arrange huge amounts of finances by taking loans, selling/mortgaging their houses/farms before they came to Australia on a student Visa. Australia allowed them to come and study here. Australian International education was marketed [marketed by those who were involved in marketing on behalf of International education in Australia] with the lure of PR visa because certain courses/trades were in the preferred list which would give them the almost certain chance of getting a PR Visa after completion of their diploma/course/training. Australia was a preferred place for international students because of this link. It is true that Australian Gov itself did not declare this link in a legal sense but this link was clearly used in the marketing. There was a practical link of getting PR after completion of certain courses because those courses were in the preferred list. By the way, it is not a serious argument today that previous Gov was wrong in linking education with immigration. This argument is not going to help the issue at hand.  There is no denying that mismanagement has taken place. Many are now of the opinion that education and immigration should have never been linked.

New SOL has removed many of the low value courses which is a good thing. This will take care of future students. Visa capping bill gives powers to the minister to manage the waiting list of those whose trades are not in demand anymore and are not in the new SOL but whose applications are pending for PR at this point of time. Apparently, there is a massive backlog of >2 years for general skills migration [GSM] applications. Backlog is one thing but Minister also wants to make sure that people with low-value trades are not getting PR and distorting the overall mix of skills which Australia gets from GSM.

Australia has the sovereign power to decide who it will accept as immigrants and what skills it needs. Nobody can have an issue with this inalienable power.

As is true with every power, the powers of this nature should be used judiciously [and Minister admits it himself], keeping in mind the “human consequences” of those who will be affected. Powers of this nature should be used keeping in mind that “these” people came here because Australia allowed them through a smart [or was it?] marketing and they have invested huge amount of money and time in Australia over 4-5 years. We have to be mindful that many of the students and their families back in whichever country they came from will have very difficult times if their “investment” of money and time fails and they are forced to leave Australia in this manner.

If you read the comments as mentioned above, many Ex students are already in the relevant jobs after completing their training. There is no reason why they can’t get the PR. They will suffer too if the power from this Bill is used as they will be in that “characteristic” or “cap & cull” category.

Yes, people can go for PR via Employer Nomination Scheme [ENS] or get PR via State or regional sponsorship scheme  if they can get such sponsorships [SOL does not matter for such sponsorships] but it is not going to be available for most.

The discussion on a topic like this will always bring the question of whether the changes should be prospectively applied or whether it is fair to apply them retrospectively.

Minister Evans has sought this power but has not declared which trades he is definitely going to target. Cooks and hair-dressers have however been mentioned repeatedly. Which “class or classes” will be subjected is not clear but this can be applied to any “class” as there is nothing in the Bill which excludes any “class” on which this “cap and cull” power can not be used. Protection visa is the only exception.

Minister Evans has his justifications for this power but I am concerned about the “human” consequences and with the plight of students. I am visualising very serious difficulties for affected international students and their families with possible impact on their physical and mental health.

When new SOL was declared, I thought the transitional measures were going to be useful for those who were impacted. With Visa capping Bill, it appears that the relief offered by transitional measures may be taken away for at least some trades like cooks and hair-dressers.

What is your view?

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/June 11, 2010

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OZ’s new Skilled Occupations list [SOL]:Frequently asked questions [FAQs].

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/faq-new-sol.pdf

Here are the FAQs and their answers on the new SOL from the Dept of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Please refer to the link for all the info or call dept of Immigration & citizenship on 1300 735 683

Yadu Singh/Sydney/31st May, 2010

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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.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2010/s2901431.htm

http://player.sbs.com.au/naca/#/naca/wna/Latest/playlist/Skilled-migrant-list-to-shrink/

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/new-list-of-occupations.pdf

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

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