The Skilled Migration Points Test has been restored to 65 points from 1 July, the level which was set in 2011. In 2012, the the level was reduced to 60 points.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said the changes would “enhance the integrity of Australia's skilled visa system and the quality of migrants coming to our country”.
Minister Dutton said the move was part of government policy to “put Australian workers first”. The skills test allows businesses to employ migrants who have the skills they need, when an Australian worker cannot be found for the position.
“Raising the points test mark will help to ensure we get migrants with valued skills and strong prospects for integration,” Minister Dutton said.
His words were echoed by the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, who wants to introduce special visas based on regional needs, such as the WA goldfields and the Queensland tourism industry.
The changes apply to three unsponsored permanent residence visas, Subclasses 189, 190, and 489.
The government is also considering a new program to help refugees with professional backgrounds pay for bridging courses, so they can requalify for jobs in Australia.
Assistant minister David Gillespie said the scheme would be similar to the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which helps jobseekers prepare for interviews, and rewards companies for hiring young workers.
Dr Gillespie said up to 30% of Australia's refugees come from highly-skilled professions and trades, but often have difficulty paying for bridging courses and professional certifications when they arrive.
Some government members are urging for changes to rural employment visas, to prevent migrants sponsored by regional employers leaving for the cities once their visa conditions have been met.