Government plans increased migration with new visa and places for international students

The federal government will increase the number of international student and skilled migrant visas, and has announced that travelers from Japan and South Korea will be allowed to travel to Australia starting next month.

The number of migrants will expand to around 200,000 places per year from December 1, including more refugee visas, but it is not yet clear how many new places will be available in each region.

Currently, there are 79,600 places in the qualified visa category, 13,750 in the humanitarian program and no cap on the number of student visas that can be granted.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said eligible visa holders could come to Australia from early December without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

“The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major step in our return journey, it is a major step in what Australians have been able to achieve and are enabling us to do,” he said.

Migration rates fell sharply when the border was closed to everyone except Australian citizens and permanent residents in March of last year in response to the emerging pandemic.

Now, almost two years later, many industries are reporting a labor shortage as projects including major public infrastructure works are threatened.

Karen Andrews says high vaccination rates mean now is the time to increase the inflow.(ABC News: Steve Keen)

From December 1, fully vaccinated people from Japan and South Korea will be allowed to travel to Australia without exemption.

Home Secretary Karen Andrews said welcoming travelers from these countries would further help the tourism industry recover

“These changes are critically important to Australia as we go through our reopening phase,” she said.

International students returning to university

International students vaccinated with a valid visa will no longer need an exemption to travel to Australia, but will be subject to the quarantine provisions of the state / territory to which they are traveling.

In jurisdictions with non-quarantine travel, international students will not count towards passenger caps.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said international students would return to universities early next year.

“We would encourage them to make their plans and be back here to give that momentum to universities and the many other sectors of our economy that have benefited so much from international students over the years.”

The government would not confirm how soon visa holders will be allowed to re-enter Australia, but an announcement is expected later today.

Senator Birmingham said the expansion will be undertaken in accordance with the plans of the states and territories.

“As with the return of Australian international citizens and permanent residents, you have Victoria and New South Wales who have played a leading role in reopening their international borders,” he said.

“Other states have set different criteria for when they will provide this kind of movement, and it will be up to those states to continue to address these issues, and we will respect that.

“Obviously we want them to get the very high vaccination rates in NSW and Victoria so that they can hopefully follow suit and bring back international students for the start of their year. their university next year. “

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News that more migration will accelerate economic recovery after the pandemic.

“Skilled workers and international students play a vital role in our economy,” he said.

“International students are worth some $ 40 billion to our economy.

“We know there are labor shortages and that skilled workers can play a key role in filling some of these shortages.”

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