Change WA Immigration Policies

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                      Immigration - the only thing to blame?

On 13 March 2017, the Premier- Elect could not wait to stop Regional Certified Body (RCB) from assessing and certifying WA employers to nominate skilled people to become Permanent Residents (PR).

Prior to swearing in as the New Premier of WA, Mr McGowan wrote to the Prime Minister on 17 March 2017 that his Government requests to remove Perth from the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) and claimed that 'his Government' is 'currently' conducting a review of the West Australian Skilled Migration Occupation List (WASMOL) and will provide an updated list once the review is complete.

According to the Premier, the removal of RSMS was for locals to have more job opportunities and for WA's future developments. It may sound right to everyone!

The over one hundred (100) skilled occupations on WASMOL have been reduced to only eighteen (18) occupations as a result of the reviews.

At the time of economic downturn, immigration has always been the first thing to blame.

The removal of Perth as a regional area, cutting down the skilled occupations by the WA government and constant changes of skilled occupations for 457 Visa holders and the proposed citizenship reforms by Federal Government have caused unexpected damages to the economy and the job market, in particular, the already crumbling higher education sector, Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and immigration service industry. The immigration policy changes have worsened the already struggling small businesses and retailers. In accordance with the latest data, the numbers of overseas students in WA continues to drop. In April 2017, the number of overseas students dropped 32% when Perth was removed from the regional area list.

The sudden reduction of overseas students' numbers threatened the financial stability of all universities and colleges, some of which have already questioned the new Government as to why there was a change of policies without consultation with those important stakeholders.

The fact that five universities are all located in Perth makes it less competitive in comparison with Sydney and Melbourne when Perth is no longer a regional area.

Education export is our number one service export industry and the second largest revenue earner.  Overseas students are contributors to our economy. They seek quality of education as well as enjoying having the privilege of choice of choosing whether to stay or choosing to leave after graduation.

Now they are moving to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart for these reasons:

1. Lost the privilege of studying in a regional area;

2. No hope to have the WA government's sponsorship because of the reduced skilled-occupation list.

Some private colleges are losing ten (10) students each week.

The potential and imminent loss of a $2 billion industry is far from over due to the changed immigration policies by WA State Government and the Federal Government.

The recent data shows that under current economic environment, WA's economy will suffer a loss of $30 million for the loss of every 100 overseas students. This is a very conservative estimation, as we have not considered the consequential losses, because those students are the most active customers and consumers of our restaurants and shops. The increased tuition fees are also flowing from WA to other States including Adelaide and Hobart as they both are regional areas.

The Leaders of our Universities warned that close to 10,000 university employees will lose their jobs if the problem continues. This is the most ironic situation to the campaign slogan: 'Jobs first for Western Australians'.

The immigration and education agencies also suffered seriously. Some of the agencies started to sack staff, others are closing down, because overseas students and other Visa holders cannot see themselves in WA's future.

It is common knowledge that the excellent skilled overseas employees not only can perform their own duties, make profits for their employers, they also create more job opportunities for locals.  

For the reasons stated above, we hereby appeal to the WA government to change the immigration policies that have damaged and continued to harm WA's economy and for the benefits of wider Western Australians to consider the following recommendations:

1. Place Perth back again onto the list of regional areas (RSMS);

2. Learn from the Queensland Government by sponsoring Master Degree students if they choose to study in WA's universities;

3. Sponsor overseas students if they achieve level of Competent English;

4. Allow overseas graduates to access Subclass 188A Business Skilled Migration Program when they hold post-study work visa.

If we urgently adapt some of the aforementioned recommendations, the students will come and attracted to WA from other States and overseas. We need consultation and action, not discussion and dispute for WA's economy. No population, no jobs.

Immigration is the fastest way to increase our population.

A further story to tell

"An overseas student who used to be a bank branch manager in her home country came to Australia to study and part time works for an employer.  In past two years she has brought over 40 customers to the business of her employer.  She not only brought business to her employer but also created jobs for the locals. 

I need to sponsor her! - the employer appealed."

 So Mr Premier, is your decision really better for the WA future?