Global immigration policies undergo major overhaul

Governments worldwide implement measures to manage migration and address skill shortages

Representative image / Image - Unsplash

As nations worldwide navigate the intricacies of immigration, significant changes are underway, directly affecting diaspora communities. From New Zealand to Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, governments are implementing measures to manage migration levels, prioritize local labor forces, and address skill shortages.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is implementing significant changes to its immigration policies with the aim of achieving the largest-ever reduction in migration.

The UK Home Office has announced several measures, including a 48% increase in the skilled worker visa salary threshold, the abolishment of the Shortage Occupation List, and the elimination of the 20% salary discount, all intended to protect British workers from being undercut.

Additionally, there will be an expansion of supplementary employment permission and a raise in general salary thresholds for skilled workers. Recent visa rule changes also restrict overseas care workers, including Indians, from bringing dependent family members to the UK, aiming to address what the Home Office describes as a "disproportionate" situation.



In Canada, a cap has been implemented on study permits for international students in 2024 to manage the rapid increase in their numbers, particularly affecting Indian students, who form a significant portion of Canada's international student body.

Certain student groups are exempt from the cap, including those in primary and secondary schools or pursuing advanced degrees. Provinces and territories are allocated permits based on population share, with adjustments made to limit growth or support declines. Approximately 552,000 study permit applications were allocated under the cap, aiming for around 292,000 approved permits, reflecting a 28% reduction from 2023 for affected groups.



In Australia, heightened scrutiny on international student applicants has led to stricter visa criteria, resulting in a decrease in visa applications for the first time in over two years.

Australia's international student population has reached a record high of over 700,000. However, recent government actions signal a downward trend in the coming year. Visa application declines and skyrocketing refusal rates, attributed to a new "Genuine Student" test and higher English proficiency standards, are causing prospective students to seek education elsewhere.

While the government views these changes as positive, aiming to fix a broken system and reduce migration levels, university chancellors express concern over the potential damage to the sector, estimating a collective revenue downturn of approximately US$198 million in 2024.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the government recently announced immediate changes to the Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) scheme in response to concerns about "unsustainable" net migration.

The revisions primarily affect individuals seeking low-skilled employment, requiring stricter English-language proficiency and reducing visa duration from five years to three. Last year, New Zealand witnessed a near-record influx of migrants, with approximately 173,000 people relocating to the country.

Additionally, the government has halted plans to add 11 roles to the Green List and closed the Work to Residence pathway for bus and truck drivers due to filled shortages. The focus is on attracting and retaining highly skilled migrants, particularly in sectors facing skill shortages, while prioritizing job opportunities for New Zealanders.









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