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