Melbourne, Feb 8: In major overhauling of its immigration policy which could badly affect Indians, Australian government has decided to cancel over 20,000 visa applications.
The decision which is likely to concentrate on overhauling system that identifies occupations in demand and creates a point system is likely to hit the Indians who are residing in the country under the existing skilled migration programme.
Under the new changes which will be unveiled on Monday, Feb 8, the Immigration Minister has the new legal authority to decide the number of visas for a single occupation.
The immigration plans would be developed by the state governments.
Inorder to allow time for foreign students to find sponsors for their education, a temporary 18-month visa will be granted to those pursuing courses which are no longer in demand.
However, foreign students under temporary visas will have to go home if they fail to find sponsors within the scheduled time-frame.
The applications which have been cancelled cover all offshore general skilled migration claims lodged before Sep 2007, while transitional arrangements will introduced to onshore overseas students to apply until 2012.
Occupations such as nurses, general medical practitioners, mechanical engineers and teachers instead of groups such as cooks and hairdressers fall under the demand and expected to favour skilled workers list according to the new system.
On the other hand, Immigration Minister Chris Evans is likely to point out the loop holes in the skilled migration program in his arguments.
"The program has been delivering self-nominated migrants from a narrow range of occupations with poor to moderate English language skills who struggle to find employment in their nominated occupation," Senator Evans said.
A newspaper report quoted Evans as saying that foreign students 'can still gain residency if they gain qualifications in professions that are in demand'.
Evans accused the unscrupulous migration agents of deteriorating the existing tensions and misunderstandings.
"[These agents] have been misleading many international students into believing that a course in Australia gave them an automatic entitlement to permanent residence. It does not, and it will not," he said.
Evans is also likely to talk about the government's support to skilled migration, which it requires, "be they from India, the United Kingdom or China - our three largest source countries or elsewhere".