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Australia’s points-based visa policy

Topics Covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Australia’s points-based visa policy

  • What to study?
  • For Prelims: Features of the points- based visa policy.
  • For Mains: Advantages and disadvantages.


Context: In what is seen as an effort to block entry to unskilled people, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to introduce an Australian style points-based visa policy from January 1, 2021.


What’s a points-based policy? How it works?

Generally, for visas that are points-tested, points may be given for different categories ranging from age to proficiency in English and amount of work experience. To be granted such visas, the individual’s score must reach a cutoff fixed by the authorities.

For workers with an “eligible skilled occupation” there are 10 categories of visas available. Applications are tested with points awarded in various categories. One of these is “Skilled Independent Visa”.

  • A migrant with this visa can live and work permanently anywhere in Australia, study in Australia, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence and if eligible, enrol in Australia’s health-care system and subject to eligibility, also become an Australian citizen.

Some of the skilled jobs that come under the ambit of the skilled migration program include: accountant, actor, aeronautical engineer, advertising manager, air conditioning and mechanical services plumber, author, baker, swimming coach, urologist and vegetable grower.


What are the advantages of points systems? 

The ability to qualify without an employer sponsor- workers entering under the Australian points system are less dependent on their employers and do not need permission to switch between jobs as they do in the UK; as a result, they are expected to have more bargaining power and to operate in a more competitive labour market.



The most common criticism of points systems is that they often do not require a job offer and if workers do not have employment lined up, it is difficult to know whether they are actually employable. The system relies on the government’s perception of what skills are valuable, rather than on the views of the employers who are to recruit them.

Other criticisms include the fact that eligibility criteria can be unpredictable if candidate are ranked against each other and a specific number admitted. This is because the bar for admission will be higher in periods when more other people are applying.

Sources: Indian Express.