New SOL and PR changes threat closure and downsizing of Colleges, TAFEs and also Universities. Losses of jobs, slowdown in economy are byproducts.
A few weeks ago, a friend commented, in reference to the DIAC tag-line, on my blog: “OZ always said “PEOPLE OUR BUSINESS”, they never said education our business. So, we provided them with what they wanted and it is their headache now to fix it. “
My reply, in continuation of what I shared in my last blog regarding transfer of some roles from AEI to AUSTRADE, is: “OZ has an unsaid mantra that EDUCATION IS ONLY BUSINESS.”
Now coming to more serious and threatening issue:
Developments since mid of last year resulted in reviews after reviews being announced with an assumption that the system is not working. This HAS BEEN a huge mistake. There were many systems that had already been improved upon due to other monitoring mechanisms over the years but were now being junked, as each review has to result in a change. Let me give two such examples here:
- 1. In September 2008, DIAC, following a realization that there were a number of migrants who would use MODL to clear the pass mark but would never practice that as a profession, modified the full MODL points process. The new system initiated required only those who had one year of experience following the qualification in the MODL occupation could count it as a MODL. THIS WAS SUCH A MAJOR CHANGE and would have put an end to “TAXI DRIVERS entering as ACCOUNTANTS” or “COOKS working in SALES”. However, not sufficient time was allowed at all for it to be tested. The review was initiated even when there was no data available to prove this 2008 change was “not working” and now the MODL has been dropped altogether. Whatever the experts may say, a good system instead of fine-tuning has now been put to rest.
- 2. In mid 2009, DIAC announced that from 2010 a job-ready test would be used to ensure that all with trade skills actually have gained the requisite skills that are in shortage and will need better English levels. THIS WAS A MAJOR CHANGE AGAIN AND WOULD HAVE ADDRESSED THE KEY ISSUE and also driven the need for better education delivery by Private Colleges. Now, without even trialing it, it stands junked.
PEOPLE are the one most confused by DIAC’s business decisions. Hence the DIAC slogan is a mere creation of copy-writers. Knowing that changes are certainly DIAC’s prerogative, it does not need to keep repeating that Immigration rules do change and will change. It also do not need to repeat that students should not assume that they will get immigration post their course of study. It is known and was never assumed. However, any sensible mind, will definitely assume that if a change is announced, it will be given a period of time to deliver before it is again reviewed and junked. I forgot, this time period for testing and review, only applies to a particular decision on India’s AL. Not in other aspects of DIAC’s business!!!
I had done an earlier blog titled PLANNED VACUUM and it is now proving to be worse. PEOPLE are now air-less completely and suffocating. There is no clue to the direction that Australia’s immigration policies will take.
There is an email in circulation from a Migration Agent who summarized his impressions from the DIAC Asst Secretary at a recent MIA Conference. I wrote to him for a permission to use his name since the email is already in wide circulation/distribution. However, my mail to him bounced as it was treated as a spam. I use content from his mail in parts only and will not reference it to him though would have preferred doing that. He does make a lot of sense when he writes:
It appears that from 1 July 2010 the new approach is for DIAC and the Australian Government to target its Immigration to cater for the current labour market needs. In doing so, the new Skills Australia SOL that will replace the current SOL, CSL and revoked MODL will have a list that is much more like one that is already existent in New Zealand and it is a system that does not seem to work.
What Australia seems to be saying is that a student is meant to study but we still want them to experience the Australian workforce and local employment culture and if it so happens that their occupation is on the new SOL then they will need to prove that they can get full time employment of at least one year and prove their ability to Australian Standards (under the SC485) and during such time if the employer like the candidate that they hired then it would up to the employer to sponsor this candidate to meet the labour market needs under Employer Nomination Scheme.
The truth of the matter out there in the labour market that we asked DIAC is how many Australian employers out there who would be willing to employ an overseas student who has not much experience in their field of study and invest in the sponsorship of that candidate. As I am an Australian employer and looking at an overseas candidate that I need to spend thousands of dollars to help that candidate to get PR to be able to retain them as an employee as opposed to a local Australian candidate I would rather invest in the latter. Wouldn’t you?
The shift that is going to happen post 1/7/2010 will be that Skilled – Independent will be very limited and that Skilled – Sponsored by State Nomination will be somewhat favoured because a candidate will need to show that they have an employer and that the Employer has offered them an employment but really the preferred scheme as told by the DIAC representative is that pathway above which in itself has many flaws.
So where does that leave the education sector and GSM? Well I can say based on that insight it is a real dark place which in the long run it will not achieve its intended purpose of encouraging new labour force to enter the labour market to subsidise for the baby boomers who are retiring and needing the new breed of labour force to subsidise for their pension.
If I were a student, I would not want to come to Australia to study if I am using this as vehicle for Immigration nor would I come to Australia to study and even consider applying PR at the end of my study. Too many hoops to jump. Too many barriers of entry. Is it even worth it? After much consideration, I would rather go back to my country and work back home. So in effect we will not get these new breed of labour force in the Australian labour market all together.
It will have the opposite effect of what is intended and the Australian Education Sector being at the forefront of it is to feel that by a net reduction of Overseas student to Australia in the next few years and beyond as the Australian Tsunami is about to hit on 1/7/2010. Good Luck to Us All!!!
Now coming to the new SOL draft. Though it is only a draft and the final list will be available in April, the draft by itself is frightening.
The AUSTRALIAN on 3rd March reported in an article titled JOBS LIST WILL DASH HOPES OF RESIDENCY, the reactions to the shortlist:
Mr Konrad said cooks, hairdressers and accountants made up more than 60 per cent of applicants waiting in the onshore skilled migration pipeline.
“Given the statistics of 60 per cent [waiting in the] pipeline, you’d have to say 70 [per cent] to 80 per cent of students would have their hopes of achieving [permanent residency] dashed,” Mr Konrad said.
He said fresh graduates of accounting and information were unlikely to meet the new criteria.
A broad range of professions – including surgeons, judges and lecturers – make up 52 of the 92 “specialised occupations” on the draft Skilled Occupation List.
Para-professionals such as fire, police and emergency services, and 22 trades – not including cooking and hairdressing – make up the balance of the list.
Skills Australia said the new list would be based on the 92 specialised occupations but might differ in the final occupations included.
However, I was intrigued by the comment from UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY in this article:
University of Technology, Sydney business dean Roy Green said the draft list was dramatic and “much more credible than anything we have seen previously”.
“UTS business will look very closely at this list to see which occupations were included and excluded,” Professor Green said.
“We note accountancy is still included, which is an important part of our intake of overseas students.”
I really wonder how closely Professor Green really looked, to hint that since Accountancy is still included, their intake of overseas students is protected.
The reality is that Accountancy is on the draft list but with an asterisk(*) and if you look at the second page there is an indication that only CPA or equivalent will be acceptable. Now, for a fresh student from a Masters in Professional Accounting type course to become a CPA, one has to not just clear some more additional tests, one also has to have 3 years of article experience. Hence, is it not closing the door on Accountancy in reality?
For those who are still hunting the full draft list, I share it below, courtesy a friend…
Now only time will tell whether the knee-jerk move to delink education from being a migration-pathway is indeed a right decision. I indicated in an earlier blog, education has been the pathway to work and settlement world-over and is not unique to OZ. I really wonder if the commentators and advisors are fully confidant themselves on the direction that they have advised the Australian Government. There appears to me a case of “over enthusiasm” and also “professional negligence” on part of the experts.
I predict that without the work/settlement pathway, Australian education’s USP vanishes and only the elite Universities (such at the GROUP of EIGHT) will be able to attract overseas students to Australia, albeit in even smaller numbers. TAFE, newer Universities and almost all private colleges should see the writing on the wall. All the good work over many years seems to be over. Less of International students will mean less jobs and slower economy…
God, please make me wrong!!!
I actually foresee a review being announced in 2011-12 and new changes once again in 2012-13. Mates, I will remind you all that I wrote this today and next time you will pay more attention to my words. Remember that there is a transitional arrangement in place for students currently studying in Australia and hence any impact that is felt will only after this group has exhausted all options to move to work/settlement post their study. Till then the statistics will keep misguiding us.