Australia probably has one of the rigid and most interesting labour migration systems in the world. Instead of a lot of other countries which have a ‘regular’ system Australia offers many different ways of entering the country. The one we are going to have a look at is for workers that want to enter the country. In most places on this planet there is no system were immigrants get rated to enter the country, in Australia there is. If a worker wants to enter the system there are a total of four visa available: general skilled migration, employer nomination, temporary business and labour agreement. We will discuss the general skilled migration lastly because it is ‘special’ compared to other countries. First there is the employer nomination, which basically means that an employer nominates an employee to stay in the country for good. Not all employer can of course file such a request, but if the company can, there are both advantages for employer and employee. For and employee this could be the way to gain a permanent visa instead of an temporary one, while the employer gains a good and motivated worker who can stay for good. The second way to enter the country is by getting a temporary business visa. This visa is quite known around the world for being flexible for both the period of time and the demands for getting one. The visa can be giving for a period of a couple of month up till four years. The demands vary on the demand for labour, and not just the amount of demand but also the sector, from employers. These demands are set by the Australian government in cooperation with employers. The third way is to get an labour agreement, which is for the most part the same as the previous one, so demand driven. This way is usually used to get a lot of foreign employees at once instead of applying for a visa for each one.
The last one, and the most interesting one, is the general skilled migration visa. This visa is famous in the world because it gives a certain amount of points to people applying for the visa. So, only people who get enough points can enter the country and if they do they can immediately apply for permanent residence, there are no long waiting periods for example. This program is only for independent people, so not for businesses who are looking for skilled foreign employees. The amount of points are based on the following things: skilled occupation, age (under 45 years old), English language ability, specific work experience and occupation in demand (and / or a job offer)1. There are more criteria like previous work experience in Australia, but these are the main ones. If the person applying for this visa gets the necessary amount of points he or she can enter the country. The current amount of points needed is 120, while people who score from 70-120 get placed in a “pool” for two years, so that they might enter later. The most important criteria is skilled occupation and if there is a demand for in Australia because this criteria accounts for 40-60 points.
To me, this might be the solution for many countries who struggle with immigration because it rates all the economic immigrants. This way a country can change the immigration policy based on demand from employees and the number of (certain) skilled employees needed. To many countries this system will be a good idea because it filters the people who don’t want in your country, like low schooled employees for example. Add this to the fact that employers can nominate people for visas and you have a pretty rigid system I think. What are your ideas?
Sources: Labour market needs, immigration programs, foreign credential recognition & employment. –Life in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Business Council of British Columbia, March 2007.
1: Labour market needs, immigration programs, foreign credential recognition & employment. –Life in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Business Council of British Columbia, March 2007. Page 49.