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Australian Migration Policy Shake-Up Concerns Among Bhutanese Aspirants Regarding Age Limits and English Requirements

โ€ฆ๐‘ถ๐’๐’† ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‘๐’Š๐’—๐’๐’•๐’‚๐’ ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’†๐’” ๐’“๐’†๐’—๐’๐’๐’—๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’“๐’๐’–๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’ƒ๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ป๐’†๐’Ž๐’‘๐’๐’“๐’‚๐’“๐’š ๐‘ฎ๐’“๐’‚๐’…๐’–๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐‘ฝ๐’Š๐’”๐’‚ (๐‘ป๐‘ฎ๐‘ฝ), ๐’“๐’†๐’…๐’–๐’„๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’™๐’Š๐’Ž๐’–๐’Ž ๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’•๐’ 35

Tshering Dorji

As the Australian government unveils significant changes to its migration strategy, concerns are growing among many Bhutanese individuals, particularly those above the age of 35. The alterations, set to be enforced after the Autumn Parliamentary Sitting in 2024, will affect eligibility for the Temporary Resident (TR) visa, reshaping the landscape for international student aspirants.

One of the pivotal changes revolves around the age eligibility for the Temporary Graduate Visa (TGV), reducing the maximum age to 35. This move is designed to position the visa as a tool for early career professionals, aiming to contribute to the Australian economy over an extended period. The shortened post-study work rights and the exclusion of post-study work extensions, except for those who studied in regional areas, further feature the tightening of eligibility criteria.

Karma Yangzom, a 37-year-old currently in the process of applying for a visa to Australia, expressed her concerns regarding the Temporary Resident (TR) visa. Having recently submitted her visa application, Karma shared her apprehensions, emphasizing the significance of obtaining the visa as it plays a pivotal role in her plans to pursue master’s studies in Australia.

“I am quite worried about the TR visa,” Karma mentioned, reflecting on the few days that have passed since she lodged her application. The outcome of her visa application holds great importance to her, considering that if granted, she would need to return to her home country after completing her master’s studies in Australia.

Ugyen Phuntsho expressed uncertainty about the timeline for the implementation of the new migration rules. He said, “I don’t know when these new migration rules will be implemented, but if they are, it will surely have an impact on me. I have already resigned from my current position, and I will be turning 36 by the time I complete my master’s studies in Australia.”

Ugyen’s words convey a sense of concern and anticipation regarding the potential implications of the impending migration changes. His situation is particularly sensitive as he has made significant career decisions, including resigning from his current job, with the expectation of pursuing higher education in Australia. The looming age limit and other rule adjustments add a layer of uncertainty to his plans, underlining the broader challenges individuals may face when aligning their personal and professional aspirations with evolving migration regulations.

Tshewang Choden, who has recently received an offer letter from a university in Australia, finds herself in a dilemma about whether to proceed with the visa application or withdraw. The source of her concern is the realization that by the time she completes her studies, she will be 35 years and 7 months old, potentially impacting her eligibility under the new migration rules.

Her uncertainty stems from the prospect of having to return to her home country after completing her two years of study. This decision is further complicated by the financial burden she carries, having borrowed one and a half million from her aunt. Tshewang is acutely aware that returning without securing a stable job could pose challenges in repaying her debts.

Equally significant is the adjustment in English language requirements for Student and Temporary Graduate visas. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score necessary for a Temporary Graduate visa will increase from 6.0 to 6.5, and for a Student visa, from 5.5 to 6.0. This shift emphasizes the Australian government’s commitment to ensuring that international students possess a higher proficiency in the English language, aligning with the quality standards of education.

While these changes are aimed at bringing about benefits to the international education sector and the Australian labor market, they are also causing apprehension among Bhutanese students and professionals. The higher English language requirements may pose challenges for some applicants, requiring additional preparation and resources to meet the new standards.

Furthermore, the limitations on the duration of the initial TGV and the exclusion of post-study work rights for some applicants may impact the attractiveness of Australian education for Bhutanese students. The emphasis on regional studies for post-study work extensions may redirect attention towards specific areas, potentially altering the dynamics of educational preferences among Bhutanese students.

The Australian Government’s focus on strengthening education provider requirements and introducing a Genuine Student test reflects a commitment to maintaining the integrity of the international education sector. The Genuine Student test aims to incentivize applications from genuine students while deterring those primarily seeking employment rather than pursuing education. However, its implementation will need to strike a balance, ensuring that it does not discourage legitimate students from pursuing educational opportunities in Australia.

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