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Visa changes could mean college collapses -

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ELEANOR HALL: Would-be cooks, hairdressers and accountants from overseas may find themselves
heading back home under the Federal Government's proposed crackdown on low-skilled migrants in

The Federal Government has signalled that it will change the immigration rules to give priority to
professions like nursing. While one migration industry body is welcoming the changes there are
warnings that they could cause the collapse of some education colleges, as Sarah Dingle reports.

SARAH DINGLE: It's a massive overhaul of the skilled migration system. The Australian Government is
set to scrap the list of preferred jobs for those wanting to come to Australia, putting the brakes
on some professions and promoting others.

MAURENE HORDER: The changes really are necessary I think to really bring the program into line.

SARAH DINGLE: Maurene Horder is the CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia, which represents
almost 2000 migration agents. She says the Federal Government's changes will help bring in more
much-needed professionals such as doctors to rural areas.

MAURENE HORDER: I think coupled with getting state governments to prioritise their migration needs
will allow people to be more readily located in the areas that they're needed rather than just
having one big pot where you hope they don't all stay in the capital cities or they don't all stay
in Sydney.

SARAH DINGLE: Ms Horder says it will also mean denying access to people overseas who've already
applied for a visa.

MAURENE HORDER: The Government's identified 20,000 that they want to actually take off the list and
say to them look we're not going to process this and we'll give you your money for your application

But I think there's no doubt that people have used the easiest pathway if you will. So if the
quickest way to get the points you needed to quality or to meet the criteria was to do a particular
course and we can say use the hairdressers as an example, then a lot of people took that avenue.

SARAH DINGLE: Apart from would-be migrants, Ms Horder says the new rules will target the agents who
broker education visas, promoting courses like hairdressing or cookery as a way into Australia.

MAURENE HORDER: It's more than likely that the inferior sort of services will collapse. I mean a
lot of that industry just mushroomed overnight because of this. This has led them to develop an
inferior product and I think if they're not offering a good quality product and there's no pathway
to migration, they will, they will of course, be impacted on.

SARAH DINGLE: Dr Bob Birrell is from Monash University's Centre for Population Research. He says as
well as the migration agents, vocational training colleges will suffer and some may collapse

BOB BIRRELL: Oh it's going to be a major correction. There are hundreds of these colleges and
they're all going to struggle under the new rules. I wouldn't like to predict which are going to go
under. I mean it depends how heavily they've invested, what their reserves are, some of them are
going to find it very difficult.

SARAH DINGLE: He says another major consequence of the changes will be tougher requirements for
would-be migrants to speak a higher level of English

BOB BIRRELL: The Government's made it clear it wants people with higher level credentials and the
English skills to match so that it'll be quite difficult for anybody who doesn't have
professional-level English skills to gain permanent residence in the future.

This will have a big impact on university graduates as well, overseas university graduates, because
many of them particularly those from China, do struggle to obtain professional-level English

SARAH DINGLE: For students of professions like hairdressing or cookery already in Australia,
there's an 18-month period after graduation to find an employer who will sponsor them so that they
can stay.

Wesa Chau is from the Australian Federation for International Students. She says this will mean an
immediate increase in the pressure to find a job

WESA CHAU: For a lot of students who are waiting to be sponsored it also means that they need to
find a sponsor asap and there might not be enough people who are able to do so.

SARAH DINGLE: The Government will announce the size of the migration intake for this year in the
May Budget.

ELEANOR HALL: Sarah Dingle reporting.