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Agency reports surge in Australian visa applications before rules change

A visa support services company says the number of Irish people applying for permanent residency visas is still rising.

Image: Diana Parkhouse via Flickr

THE NUMBER of Irish people applying for permanent residency visas in Australia is increasing, ahead of the adoption of tougher new rules on who can live in the country, a visa agency has said.

Visa support services company visafirst.com says it has noted a significant increase in Irish applicants looking for visas to move permanently to Australia, six months before new rules take effect which will restrict the number of immigrants.

From July 1, Australia will reform migrant residency applications and introduce the new SkillSelect system, which assigns ‘points’ to applicants based on their education or whether they have been trained in a particular skill.

The system is intended to ensure that immigrants are capable of contributing to the Australian economy – but visa agencies believe the system will instead give Australian immigration officials the ability to ‘pick and choose’ immigrants who are granted permanent residency.

While the current system ensures that all applicants satisfying certain criteria are invited by the Department of Immigration & Citizenship to apply for permanent residency, this will not be the case under the new regime.

Visafirst.com’s Edwina Shanahan said the new system would “create significant uncertainty for people interested in applying”.

“They could spend a lot of money to meet the criteria – skills assessment, English language test – and may never be invited to apply for the actual visa.”

Visafirst.com reported a similar increase of applicants for working holiday visas last spring.

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Gavan Reilly

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