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  • How Australian Higher Education Sector gains following the H1B Visa?

    How Australian Higher Education Sector gains following the H1B Visa?
    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    There is certainly no denying the fact that the recent international events in the world politics have left us all wondering about what's coming next. The 2016 presidential elections in the United States were immediately followed by the game changer policies that have affected the whole country; compelling the rest of the world to anticipate its outcome in the near future.

    Two such changes that catch our attention are the “H1B visa reforms” and “Muslim ban”. Being an organization that works in the direction to guide students aspiring for overseas education, we wanted to analyze these current international events to see what changes could these recent reforms bring in the study abroad domain of Australia?
    Further, we will attempt to understand the impact of Muslim travel ban as well as the new H1B visa policy and see how Australia- another top study abroad destination; is going to get a competitive edge in the study abroad domain?

    Understanding the H1B Visa policy

    The H1B visa as we know it today was first established in the 1950s granting the foreigners with “distinguished merit and ability”. The H-1 temporary worker visa program offered the foreigners an opportunity to find employment within the legal framework in the United States.

    The policy was amended under the Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT) stating that you must search the job that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, or equivalent work experience, in a specialized field. In addition to this, the visa also allowed a petitioner to apply for a legal permanent residency or the green card.


    What it means?

    The employers in the US must seek such employees that carried higher educational qualifications or a specialized work skill at the least. This resulted in a boom in study abroad domain among international students who were now aspiring to pursue their higher education in the US.

    The US government welcomed this influx of international students by offering them world class academics and thus creating an unparalleled work force that proved to be a great hike to its national economy. The top universities in the US were aware of the latent talent in other countries; thus to make sure that they absorbed the best and the deserving minds; they offered brilliant scholarship programs for students’ convenience to pursue their higher studies in the country. This became the most common reason to study in the US.

    This resulted in transformation of the United States as the crowned world leader among other study abroad destinations in the world. Students no matter which latitude or longitude they lived in, had started looking up to the US for their dreams of global higher education and wished to go to the US to pursue a degree or get a job!

    New reforms in H1B visa...

    Under the ‘High Skilled and Fairness Act 2017” introduced by California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren in the US house of Representatives, it is now mandatory for all employers in the US to increase the minimum salary of all their H1B visa holding immigrant workers to $130,000 from the previous figure of $60,000. This reform act has been described as a strict measure against the unfair practices of the employers while employing the immigrant workforce at lesser wages and denying jobs to American people.

    It has been seen that employees from outside with necessary academic qualifications and skill set are absorbed by the US employers at lower wages for monotonous jobs preventing Americans to even compete for them. This unfair practice was seen as an obvious outcome of the very H1B policy cited above.

    Muslim Ban - The Fuss explained!

    Within two months of taking over the oval office, the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump signed more than a dozen executive orders in a bid to fulfil his campaign promises. One such executive order signed on 27th January 2017 states about “ Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States”. Legally speaking, the order doesn’t talk directly about banning muslims in the country but suspends either all the refugee resettlement programs or entry from certain countries!

    This executive order is an extension of the fact that the US is striving to become more vigilant on its visa-issuance processes making sure that those entering the country pose no harm and have no ties with terrorism whatsoever. Though the Trump administration has so far been ambiguous by calling this order a ‘ban’ and a ‘travel restriction’ on different occasions. Suspending the immigrants from seven Muslim majority countries of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days, the order also prevents refugees from entering USA for 120 days. This also prevents receiving visitor, student, or employment visas to people from these countries.

    Australia Gaining a Competitive Edge - The Conclusion

    Following our discussion over the visa reform and muslim ban, you must have understood that this executive order- resulted ban is temporary. Therefore, whatever we try to conclude out of it will remain an anticipation to understand its impactat large.

    The H1B visa reform and the executive order tends to backfire much over the US itself due to cut in its inflow of the global talent. The H1B visa reform attempts to compel US employers to offer vacant positions to an equal or better qualified American worker instead of seeking an H1B visa holder. But in the wake of this decision the US is definitely going to lose a lot of potential talent that arrives via H1B visa from countries like India and others.

    This is indeed going to affect the decision of many higher education aspirants worldwide whether to choose to go to the US or not. The same can be extended for the so called muslim ban.

    The students all over the world aim to pursue higher studies abroad in order to make use of the legal job opportunities and to migrate. Since US had been the most preferred destinations among students, it is likely that they will now retreat to look for other options to take up their higher education overseas. The first name that comes to mind is of Australia that not only promotes and welcomes skilled workers’ migration but offers world-class education and scholarships.

    We have already covered in our previous blogs why Australia is ideal for your PhD and why Indian students prefer Australia for higher education?

    The visa and immigration policies in Australia are more student friendly with a lot of brilliant job opportunities for students as well as those looking for jobs in a skilled profession. There has been an updated Skilled Occupations List (SOL) that includes 2 professions which were previously removed. It includes: Orthotist or Prosthetist and Audiologist.With simple visa policies and best of world-class opportunities offered, we find no reason why Australia can’t be termed as next World Leader in imparting overseas education!

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