Australia abolishes popular 457 skilled worker visa

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The changes, which will see the 457 temporary skilled work visa replaced with a more stringent Temporary Skill Shortage visa in March 2018, will not directly affect student visas or the post-study work rights visa scheme. However industry stakeholders have reported a level of confusion from overseas colleagues.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly abolished the scheme last week and said its replacement will ensure that “Australians, wherever possible, where vacancies are there, where job opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them.”

Several providers have identified uncertainty among students and education agents regarding how the changes will affect students’ work opportunities after study, while several overseas media outlets have been identified as providing inaccurate information on the changes.

“Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection clearly did not see it as their role to communicate who would not be affected by the changes to 457 visa settings,” IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood told The PIE News.

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“Wherever possible, where vacancies are there, where job opportunities are there, Australians will be able to fill them”

“It quickly became apparent that international students were making extensive use of social media to express their concerns about possible impacts,” he added.

Honeywood said those concerns prompted education minister Simon Birmingham to tweet, “Fact. Australia is open to educating the world,” with an accompanying graphic which has been circulated by Australian educators’ accounts.

At this stage, the minister has not released a formal media statement on the impact of the changes to international students.

Indirectly, fewer international students will be eligible for the upcoming TSS visa than for the 457 skilled worker visa program, as the upcoming scheme requires applicants have a higher level of English, a minimum two years’ work experience in their skilled occupation, and the list of eligible occupations will also be reduced.

The move remains in line with the Australian government’s efforts to separate ties between its overseas study visa program and skilled migration, after concerns of widespread fraud at the turn of the decade.

“It is a very responsive approach, but the fundamental difference is, it is focused relentlessly on the national interest and on ensuring that temporary migration visas are not a passport for foreigners to take up jobs that could and should be filled by Australians,” said Turnbull.

But educators aired their concerns that any changes could have a mild dampening effect on student enrolments.

“While the reforms do not have a direct relationship to education, international students do consider future employment opportunities in choosing study destinations,” ACPET chief executive Rod Camm said in a statement.

“Any perceived tightening of migration conditions may discourage some students from choosing Australia as their study destination,” he added.

While the abolition of the 457 visa system has caused anxiety among students, the number of student visa holders moving to a 457 visa has been gradually decreasing over the past three years.

Since 2012/13, the number of student visa holders who moved onto a 457 visa shrunk by almost 35% to 11,696 in 2015/16, despite student numbers hitting a record 554,179 in 2016.

Conversely, the post-study work stream of the 485 temporary graduate visa, which provides up to four years work depending on level of qualification completed, saw a marked increased in 2015/16, more than doubling from 9,400 to 21,300 from the previous year.

It is unclear if the removal of the 457 visa could mean fewer international students move in the opposite direction, converting from a temporary skilled worker visa to a student visa, as DIBP does not publicly provide those figures, but Honeywood estimated the numbers would be low.

“Australia has a competitive advantage right now amidst uncertainty in many other parts of the world – we need to safeguard that advantage and not undermine it in any way”

Meanwhile, Universities Australia also expressed concern the TSS could affect Australia’s university system and prevent them from recruiting “the best and brightest minds from around the world.”

In particular, UA said the work experience requirement would prevent universities from recruiting recent PhD graduates and also requested university lecturers and tutors be restored to the medium term skills list.

“Australia has a competitive advantage right now amidst uncertainty in many other parts of the world – we need to safeguard that advantage and not undermine it in any way,” UA chief executive Belinda Robinson said in a statement.

“The ability of our universities to bring brilliant minds into Australia is crucial to the global research collaborations that will help us to create new jobs and new industries for Australians.”

Immigration minister Peter Dutton subsequently vowed to take a broad view of what constitutes work experience, with his office telling the Australian Financial Review experience may vary depending on occupation, “such as research and teaching experience accumulated by PhDs.”

[Source:- pienews]

Alibaba Group Expands Presence in Australia, New Zealand

Alibaba Group Expands Presence in Australia, New Zealand

Chinese online retailer Alibaba Group opened its Australian and New Zealand headquarters in Melbourne on Saturday, its first expansion in the region as it seeks to tap growing global demand for products from the two countries.

The group’s billionaire founder Jack Ma, who spent time in Australia as a young man, said he hoped the e-commerce giant would help Australian and New Zealand businesses “share their world-famous products with billions of customers around the world”.

There are more than 1,300 Australian and 400 New Zealand brands on Alibaba’s Tmall and Tmall Global, the company said in a statement.

“Alibaba Group’s vision for the ANZ region is to build the entire operating infrastructure needed to enable local businesses to expand globally,” Maggie Zhou, the group’s Australian and New Zealand Managing Director, said.

Further growth is planned in the areas of cloud computing, payments, digital entertainment and logistics, she said.

Alibaba also signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia Post aimed at streamlining logistics between Australia and China and developing the first Australian marketplace within Alibaba’s Lazada eCommerce Network in Southeast Asia.

Ma met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Friday where the pair discussed trade, small-and-medium businesses and young business people.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Tags: Alibaba, Apps, Internet, E Commerce, Jack Ma

Microsoft HoloLens Now Available For Pre-Orders in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK

Microsoft HoloLens Now Available For Pre-Orders in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK

Microsoft HoloLens Now Available For Pre-Orders in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK
It is now available in a few European markets
Australia and New Zealand are also among the new countries
HoloLens is the world’s first “self-contained holographic computer”
Microsoft stepped into the domain of mixed reality and holographic content with HoloLens back in January 2015. This year in March, Microsoft started shipping the developer edition of its HoloLens headset in the United States and Canada for $3,000 (roughly Rs. 2 lakhs). Starting Wednesday, Microsoft HoloLens will be available for pre-orders in six more countries – Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The Microsoft HoloLens will be available for the following prices in the aforementioned countries in Development Edition and Commercial Suite (adding the volume order ability). The most common Development Edition will cost EUR 3,299 ($3,633) in Germany, France and Ireland, £2,719 ($3,335) in the UK, AUD 4,369 ($3,308) in Australia, and NZD 7,829 ($5,527) in New Zealand.

In June this year, Microsoft had already opened the gates for developers to join its HoloLens world, then foraying into PCs. HoloLens is claimed to be the world’s first standalone and untethered holographic computer.
“When we set out to pioneer mixed reality we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered only when developers and organizations started developing with HoloLens. As a creator, there is no better feeling than empowering others to let their imagination run wild with innovation.”, said Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow for the Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post announcing wider availability of the headset.

In other news, Microsoft is expected to launch its new Surface AIO at its recently announced October 26 Windows 10 event. The event will kick off at 10am EDT (or 7:30pm IST) and will be live streamed.

Tags: Microsoft HoloLens, HoloLens, Wearables, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality


India in Australia: CA XI Bowlers To Share Insights With Men in Blue

Virat Kohli Manchester Reuters

Adelaide: Five bowlers of the Cricket Australia XI, against whom India played a couple of two-day games as a warm-up to the Test series, will stay here to assist the national side and provide insights into the visiting team.

The second practice match finished in an inevitable draw on Friday, but CA XI captain Ashton Turner is among five bowlers from the team that will remain here to assist the national team in the nets.

“Players would probably be talking about what they saw and did, which will be passed onto other players,” CA XI coach Troy Cooley was quoted as saying by Australian news agency AAP.

“It’s a great little network of information being transferred. We’ll make sure the most up to date information is given to our big brother,” he said.

Leg-spinner Jonte Pattison, pacemen Sam Rainbird, David Moody and Josh Lalor are expected to stay in Adelaide along with Turner.

Left-armer Lalor snared four wickets in the tour match, often troubling India’s batsmen. Opposition analysis has hardly been at the top of

Australia coach Darren Lehmann’s priority list in the past week, given the tragic death of Phillip Hughes. Lehmann’s focus over the next few days will be ensuring his 13-man squad is ready to take the field at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.

“We’ll have a look at India of course, but at the moment’s it’s a case of getting our things right first,” Lehmann said prior to the squad’s session today.

Assistant coach Ali de Winter attended the tour game last week, when paceman Varun Aaron sent down some impressive spells.

“He’s got some notes for Boof to take away,” Cooley said.

“There’s plenty of information for the boys, obviously India’s series in England earlier this year. We’ll just top it up with a little bit of stuff from there,” he said.