Australia Reality Check

There is an old saying that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is. Until recently, many professionals and young graduates headed in droves to Australia on student visas with the main intention of making some money and building a life there.

However, it was not just Bhutanese heading there, but hundreds of thousands of other foreign students with the result that Australia feels swamped today with international students contributing to a raging housing crisis in many cities.

Australia thought it was opening its doors to foreign students who would come deposit fees to support its fourth largest industry which is its education sector, study, the really skilled ones would stay back and most would go back as mentioned in their GTE visa applications.

The reality is that many are not going back and they are now forming a rapidly swelling ‘temporary permanent migrant’ population mainly engaged in low skilled labour.

Given its small domestic population and large geographical size, migration has always been a very sensitive issue and a hot political potato.

The Australian government has openly declared that student visas are being abused by people to actually come and work instead of being genuine students.

It has announced its intent to be much more selective in selecting students, ensuring they study rather than just work and they will encourage many of these temporary permanent migrant population to head back if they don’t have the skills that Australia needs.

There are recommendations to even shorten the stay for students after graduation.

Educational institutions in Australia will also come under heavy scrutiny.

Bhutan can already feel the effects as visa agents from the Australian High Commission are putting in much more calls and are being more selective. Rejection rates will be much higher this time.

Add to this is the fact that starting from 1st July 2023 students can only work 24 hours in a week down from the unlimited hours granted due to the pandemic from January 2022 to June 2023.

Many Bhutanese have given their bank balance and heart to Australia, but it is clear that Australia does not want most of them. There are tough and uncertain times ahead.

Few people have the imagination for reality.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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