By Ramesh KumarAUSTRALIA will face a “tough decision” next week on whether to change the way it treats foreign students, a senior government official said.
Key points:The Government is set to announce a range of changes to the H2B visa program that will affect about 200,000 students who work in AustraliaThe Government will introduce a new visa to help those who have taken a leave of absenceTo qualify for a new H1-B visa, students must have taken leave of employment and have had a temporary visa in the past 12 monthsThe decision comes as the Government looks to address concerns over the visa program in the wake of Donald Trump’s travel ban.
In a statement on Friday, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said it would introduce a range and new visa types in line with the needs of the workforce.
The Government has been pushing hard to reduce the number of H1Bs it is importing.
Under the existing visa rules, H1s are issued for a specific duration and are only available to students working in the country.
In February, the Government announced it would increase the number from 50,000 to 75,000 visas per year to meet growing demand from employers.
Mr Trump’s visa ban is expected to be enforced in a matter of days, with the Government now seeking to reduce it to 25,000.
The changes will not affect existing students or students working with a temporary visas.
“The Government believes it is the right thing to do for the Australian people,” the Department said.
“We will announce details of the changes to this program in due course.”
It will also be announcing a new range of H2Bs to help students who have had leave of a temporary nature and have taken temporary visas in the previous 12 months.
It will be the first time the Government has announced such a new system for H1 visas, the statement said.
Under the new H2-B system, students will be able to apply for visas to work in their country of origin, for up to two years, and to take up temporary visas for up-to three years, after which they will be entitled to a new, permanent visa.
The new visa will allow students to stay in Australia for up at least five years.
It comes after Mr Trump’s immigration ban, which was announced on Wednesday, prompted some students to leave Australia in protest.
A student protests outside the Supreme Court in Canberra.
Topics:immigration,government-and-politics,immigration,education,education-industry,educationalready-highway,canberra-2600,australiaFirst posted February 09, 2021 06:40:25Contact Sam WoolleyMore stories from Australia