Immigration News: September 2021

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In the past month, Pearson announced three changes to their PTA Academic test to improve the experience of those who take their test. Australia also announced the establishment of an Agriculture visa, to the delight of the agriculture industry.

Continue reading to find out more.

Changes to the Pearson PTE Academic English test

Pearson PTE has announced three changes to the PTE Academic English test that comes into effect on 16 November:

1. A shorter test

PTE Academic is reducing in length, from three hours to a more convenient two hours.

The format of the test is not changing!

PTE Academic will still test the same English skills, using the same types of questions, but just with fewer questions. You can thus prepare for the test in the same way as before.

2. Enhanced score report feedback

You’ll get a new personalised ‘skills profile’ alongside your PTE Academic score report with additional feedback on your performance. This feedback will also include suggestions for how to improve.

3. At-home English tests

PTE Academic will offer an Online test option that you can do at home. However, PTE Academic Online is unfortunately not recognised for visa and immigration purposes.

Australia announces the establishment of an Agriculture visa

The Australian Government has announced the establishment of an Agriculture visa. This visa will be available to workers across the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors and build on the highly successful existing Pacific schemes.

At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that regulations to enable the creation of the Agriculture visa would be in place by the end of September 2021.

Once created, the Agriculture visa will be open to applicants from various countries negotiated through bilateral agreements.

The Government will develop and implement full conditions for the Agriculture visa over the next three years. The Australian government will work to achieve a demand-driven approach and consider permanent residency pathways and regional settlement during this implementation period.

The agricultural industry has welcomed the new visa

The Australian Meat Industry Council and Citrus Australia have commended the Australian Government for establishing the Agriculture visa.

Patrick Hutchinson, chief executive of the Australian Meat Industry Council, said, “This new visa represents a concerted effort by both industry and government that recognizes that we are an essential service. This is not about trying to substitute Australian labour with cheap labour from overseas – it is in fact so much harder to go through this process to get workers on-site than it is to hire locals.”

When talking about the visa not being an easy process, Mr Huchinson refers to the fact that the jobs eligible under the Agriculture visa will be subject to labour market tests.

The feedback from Nathan Hancock, CEO of Citrus Australia, was as follows: “Growers across all sectors this year, who contribute billions of dollars to the national economy and rural and regional Australia, have suffered significant financial losses, and great mental stress, due to the severe labour shortage. On behalf of them, we thank the government for committing all government departments to work together on delivering the agriculture visa.”

Mr Hancock added that the Agriculture visa not only provides confidence to Australia’s citrus growers to continue to invest in their export programs, but it also enables them to focus on attracting returning workers to their farms and pack sheds, leading to increased efficiencies in their business.

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