The Australian immigration scene has seen quite a lot of events this year. There are have been some that have caused quite a lot of stir, while there are those that have made a lot of people jump for joy. Heres a quick look at the year that was 2010 for the immigration scene.
The year began big when the Department of immigration and Citizenship announced that it would be making major changes in the skilled migration program. One of the biggest of these changes was the reorganization of the skilled occupation list, which consists all the jobs that were eligible for visa application. In accordance to the governments goal of attracting more higher level workers, many vocational positions were removed from the list.
These changes, in turn, also had significant effects on the next biggest visa program, which is student migration. Because of the removal of vocational positions from the SOL, these were also promptly removed from the list of courses being covered in the student migration program. The DIAC has also started to implement tougher qualifications for student visa applicants later that year, with English proficiency being one of the key focuses.
Unsurprisingly, a large number of foreign students were unhappy with the changes. Many, in fact, have decided to either return home or move to another country. This led to significant drops in the number of foreign student enrollments for the year, which had many educational institution worried about their dwindling income. In response to concerns made by these groups, the DIAC said that they are now in the process of reviewing the rules being implemented for the student visa program.
Asylum seekers also took center stage in the immigration scene. In 2010, there have been several incidents that occurred in the various immigration centers around the country. During September, in particular, several detainees have broken out of several centers and protested what they alleged to be unfair regulations. Another major incident involving refugees occurred in early December, when a boat carrying them and heading into the country sank near Christmas Island. The Australian Coast Guard confirmed that 15 people have died in the tragedy.
The incidents have since reawakened debates regarding the countrys refugee policies. Refugee supporters have said that these policies undermine Australias international commitment on refugee welfare. On the other hand, many groups within the country have urged the government to implement even tighter measures based on what they perceived to be security concerns. The issues have also became significant matters during the countrys elections in August.