IN THE first week of March, Julia Gillard promised “to stop foreign workers being put at the front of the queue with Australian workers at the back.” Her speech in Western Sydney provoked a testy and at times unsavoury national debate about whether temporary migrants on 457 visas were “stealing Aussie jobs.” Less than three weeks later, the federal government quietly changed the rules of another visa in ways that will enable thousands more temporary migrants to work in Australia for up to four years.
Alterations to visa subclass 485, the Temporary Graduate Visa, will make it easier for international students to stay in Australia after successfully completing their studies. The changes, which took effect on 23 March, allow students to obtain a two-year work visa if they study in Australia for at least sixteen months and complete either a bachelor’s degree or a masters by course work. Students who complete a masters by research can qualify for a three-year visa, while those who complete a doctorate get four years…
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