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Changes made today by the Turnbull Government show it has listened and acted on several key concerns raised by Australia’s universities about new visa rules.

Having worked closely and constructively with Government representatives since the announcement, we are pleased that university lecturers and vice chancellors (CEOs) will be restored to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), with a pathway to permanent residency.

In a second important shift, the Government has given Universities Australia a commitment that study towards a PhD will count as relevant work experience for the purposes of applying for new skilled visas. 

Also welcome is the addition of many scientific and technical disciplines to the medium list. 

“This is very good news – the Government has listened to these key concerns and acted on them,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.

“We commend the Ministers, their dedicated staff and Departmental officials, who listened carefully and worked with us to achieve an outcome that is genuinely in Australia’s best interests by being able to continue to attract the world’s best and brightest researchers.”

“The global community of university lecturers and researchers is a highly mobile one. Australia needs policy settings that allow us to remain competitive, and ensure we are able to snap up the best global talent to work alongside our brilliant home-grown researchers,” Ms Robinson said. 

“Today’s changes also send an important signal of reassurance to an estimated 3,000 researchers and university staff on current 457 visas who had faced an uncertain future.”

The changes address several issues raised by Universities Australia on behalf of universities:

• ‘University Lecturer’ has been restored to 4-year Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, with a
    pathway to permanent residency;
• ‘Chief Executive or Managing Director’ and ‘Faculty Head’ have also been restored to the MLTSSL;
• a wide range of scientific, technical and professional occupations have been added to both the Medium
    and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL); and
• The Government has also given UA a commitment that time studying towards a PhD will be counted as
    work experience when applying for new skilled visas.

However, ‘University Tutor’ has been removed from all lists. 

While we warmly welcome today’s changes, Universities Australia remains concerned at a proposal to have universities contribute to a new trades training levy when they bring overseas researchers into Australia.

“It makes no sense to force universities to contribute to a training levy when they themselves deliver education and training.”

“The changes made today will ensure that Australia can make the most of an historic opportunity to recruit some of the finest global minds of a generation.”

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

Bella Counihan
Ph: 02 6285 8123
Mobile: 0419 212 219 

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