It’s a mixed bag of news this month. Covid-19 continues to give many skilled migrants and international students a headache, delaying visa applications and adding uncertainty. But on the positive side, most countries – notably Australia – will soon be open to the world after more than two years of strict border closures.
Official IELTS Test dates
Test dates: Feb 2022
Saturday, 5 February 2022, Academic and General Training (Australia and New Zealand only)
Saturday, 12 February 2022, Academic and General Training
Thursday, 17 February 2022, Academic and General Training
Saturday, 26 February 2022, Academic only
Test dates: Mar 2022
Thursday, 3 March 2022, Academic only
Saturday, 12 March 2022, Academic and General Training
Saturday, 19 March 2022, Academic only
Saturday, 26 March 2022, Academic and General Training
Where Can IELTS Take You?
Skilled migrants face further delays to visa approval
The Australian government has warned that clearing the two-year backlog of skilled visas, including the Subclass 190 visa, may take longer than anticipated to process as resources are diverted to applicants on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).
While the official government website states 90% of Subclass 190 visas are processed within nine months, some applicants have been waiting much longer.
Vast majority of Australians are in favour of offering permanent residency to skilled migrants, research suggests
78% of Australians believe skilled migrants who already live and work in their country should be given a route to stay for good, according to a survey published this month. The results suggest that the perception of Australians as generally opposed to migration has become outdated.
Borders reopen to all fully vaccinated travellers
Migrants, students and tourists will all be able to enter Australia from 21 February as the country reopens its borders after two years of restrictions. Travellers will need to provide proof of at least two jabs of an approved Covid-19 vaccination.
Skilled migration visa applications on hold as government struggles to clear backlog
The Canadian government has announced that the country’s express entry pool, which gives skilled migrants a pathway to residence, will be paused despite a skilled labour shortage in many industries. The change means that, for now, new applications will not be processed – and existing applications may take considerably longer than expected.
Reports suggest Government planning major changes to immigration policy
The Kiwi government may be planning to make routes to residency more difficult after the country’s borders reopen, according to documents seen by a NZ news website. While no official announcement has been made, the news suggests those who have been delaying a move to New Zealand may wish to bring their move forward.
5,000 international students to be allowed into NZ from April
A small group of international students will be the first to re-enter New Zealand in time for their second semester, the government has announced. Students will need to provide proof of full vaccination from Covid-19, self-isolate for ten days and take three rapid (antigen) Covid tests. All remaining international students will be allowed to enter New Zealand in October 2022.
International STEM students in 22 new fields now eligible for 3 years of post-study work
The STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) scheme has been extended to cover a broad range of new science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, enabling more international students on US university courses to begin their careers in the States. The OPT allows eligible students to work for three years after graduation. You can find the full list in this story.