WA attaches permanent residency to student visas

Last week I reported that the Western Australian (WA) Government has implemented a $10 million incentive program that will pay kickbacks to education agents that funnel international students to the state.

Upon announcing this policy, the WA Government stated that it had “consulted extensively with the international education sector over the past few months and have based this package on their input”.

Former regulator for the vocational training sector, Claire Field, warned that WA’s program would fuel visa fraud by incentivising agents to lower standards and push through as many students as possible to maximise fees:

“As a former regulator for the vocational training sector, the alarm bells in my head are ringing loudly”.

The plot thickens with SBS reporting that WA will effectively attach permanent residency to student visas in a bid to turbo-charge immigration into the state:

The government has andded 194 new occupations to the graduate occupation list, taking the total to 331 occupations… with preference given to those residing in WA…

International Education Minister David Templeman said, “Providing a skilled migration pathway is key for attracting international students to Western Australia to retain their capabilities once they have completed their studies”…

SBS Punjabi spoke to Perth based migration agent Narinder Kaur Sandhu in regards to the new announcement…

“There are now 331 occupations listed in the graduate occupation list, including newly added occupations, such as hairdresser, bricklayer, finance brokers, IT field professionals, motor mechanic, carpenter, cook, dancers, many health occupations and much more.

“If any international student graduates from Western Australia, this program will provide a quick pathway to permanent residency,” said Ms Sandhu.

The above policy measures are a 180 degree policy U-turn from the 2017 McGowan Government, which at the time demanded the federal government remove Perth from the Regional Sponsorship Migration Scheme, thus effectively preventing a pathway for overseas workers to gain a visa. The 2017 McGowan Government also trimmed the state’s skilled migration list, slashing it to just 18 eligible occupations from 178 previously.

The 2017 visa restrictions followed a major survey from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which showed that 53% of ‘skilled’ migrants in Western Australia said they are working in lower skilled jobs than before they arrived, with unemployment and underemployment also rife among migrants:

WA migrant outcomes

Clearly, Premier Mark McGowan has been captured by the edu-migration lobby. I wonder how Western Australians feel about these latest visa changes?

Unconventional Economist
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  1. LeftRightOutMEMBER

    Shocked, shocked! Well, not that shocked.

    Feels like the final dance before the recession we had to have.

      • More information on the Western Australian skilled migration occupation list (WASMOL) and Graduate occupation list (GOL) can be found here:

        I noticed this:

        “The occupations identified on the occupation lists do not relate to any specific job vacancies, nor represent any guarantee of a job, but rather identify occupations that are considered a priority for the State.”

        So, the listed occupations aren’t really matched to areas where there are legitimate, demonstrated shortages. Rather, it’s about offering more migration pathways to keep the edu-migration industry happy.

        Terrible policy.

        • Check out the 2022-23 State nomination requirements.

          More foreign acupuncturists, community arts workers, driving instructors, family and marriage counsellors, finance brokers, gardeners, fruit and nut growers, funeral workers, recreation officers, greenkeepers etc. are apparently a “priority for the State”!

          It’s basically a free-for-all.

  2. A glorious mid-century future beckons for brash Perth. Four million people, crushing summer heat, and a string of desal plants, from Lancelin to Bunbury. Or perhaps they’ll revive Barnett’s pipeline from the Kimberley. Too easy.

    • McGowan hasn’t really done nothing to diversify the economy either (‘international education’ doesn’t count). We’re still a quarry reliant on China. The same structural problems that undid Barnett will probably claim McGowan too.

  3. DingwallMEMBER

    How the Perth house prices going? Perhaps he was also feeling heat if they aren’t growing at ludicrous rates as Australians expect.

  4. “I wonder how Western Australians feel about these latest visa changes?”

    I don’t think it matters what any of us think.

    • Yes. And that is the crux of this matter, and pretty much everything else. Our elected “representatives” pay no attention whatsoever to the will of the people. They are owned, all of them, but the big end of town, and simply do as they are told.

      • McGowan can effectively do what he wants. No effective opposition. No critical media.

    • DingwallMEMBER

      F me ! Where else would put a university campus in the city CBD.

      How many rorts, backhanders and photos were swapped to approve that?

  5. DonaldHornRebornMEMBER

    The worst thing is as a WA resident I have met Uber drivers who are fully fledged accountants but are unable to work as such as “Australians don’t trust someone with a funny accent” (Direct quote) I’m guessing that these poor souls will end up as grist in the Inland housing developments making some developer rich after overpaying for a postage stamp block cheek by jowl next to the next black-roofed house with no trees in sight.

    Those fundraiser lunches don’t pay for themselves.

    It does beggar belief.

    • A masters in professional accounting does not, by itself, make you an accountant. Many of these people, unfortunately, have limited skills and struggle when placed even in entry level positions.
      How do I know…we have tried. 🙁

      • I’ve met fully fledged foreign “engineers” who should really be driving Ubers,and perhaps not even that because their drivers licenses are probably as bogus as their degrees.

        There was one memorable chap who had a “degree” from a Pakistani “university” with a fancy sounding name. A little Google Fu showed that the uni was a fraud that had been shut down by the Paki gummint for corruption. It takes a special kind of corruption to bring the Pakistani government down on your head like that.

  6. It is mad in WA at the moment. No employer is exempt from staff shortages and we are back in Groundhog Day where school teachers, police, nurses and the like are threatening to ‘go to the mines’ if the don’t get substantial ongoing pay rises…
    DLS has explained to us numerous times how that worked out for the state last time they threatened the same. MM has much to think about.

  7. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    I hate this. Time for businesses to actually train people and work on their productivity. Jobs market is super hot here but then it always is right before the bust. Perth has reached/exceeded its maximum size, it already needs two large desal plants to supply half its water needs. As for black tile-roofed houses they are still being built which in the 21st century seems a crime against their occupants. Our climate is like Greece! When I went to Greece most of their houses are white with thick walls to keep them cool. At least the push towards English gardens is finally reversing, they simply cannot survive our brutal summers.

  8. “I wonder how Western Australians feel about these latest visa changes.”

    They probably aren’t really aware of them. It’s not like there is an effective opposition or critical media in WA. Making this article public would help raise awareness.

  9. “There are now 331 occupations listed in the graduate occupation list, including… dancers.”

    What a joke.

    • The same WA Treasury geniuses who advised Barnett to keep spending big because we were in a 30 year boom.

  10. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Porn Set Fluffer” was on that list of “skilled” occupations.

    • It might as well be. Everything else is.

      Our “skilled” immigration program is a farce.

  11. Dancers? Someone has a very sick sense of humour whoever realeased that document. Uber Dancers?
    Maybe they’d be in demand to help the Finance Brokers with a lap dance?
    In any case can Mark McGowan influence visa applications this much, given Visas etc are a Fed thing?

  12. No coverage of this in the rubbish The West Australian, WAToday or ABC. Or any other outlet. Sad but not surprising.

    McGowan breaks an election promise and we get silence.