Australia is toughening up its immigration laws – Irish workers without third level qualifications or a second language will find it harder to emigrate down under.

The Irish Times has reported that Australian authorities are to bring in new rules designed at changing the profile of immigrants looking for a new start.

As a result university graduates and professionals who are fluent in a second language will find it easier than ever to move to Australia on work permits.

But skilled trades-people, particularly in the building industry, are going to find it harder from this summer on to live the Aussie dream.

Those without a recognized education qualification could even find themselves ineligible for a visa under the new system which comes into effect on July 1st.

The Times reports that workers in about 200 different occupations are awarded “points” towards gaining a visa depending on the shortage in Australia of workers in their field.

Under the new proposal, applicants will still have to work in one of the designated occupations to qualify but will no longer be awarded points for their job.

Instead, points will be awarded for higher educational qualifications, language skills and relevant work experience.

Irish applicants aged between 25 and 32 with a third-level degree in one of the designated occupations would meet the new points criteria and older or younger applicants could still be eligible if they hold a PhD.

The paper claims that applicants with a recognized apprenticeship qualification will now need to have three years’ work experience in their designated occupation or one year’s experience if it was completed in Australia.

Applicants who have no degree or recognized apprenticeship are unlikely to meet the criteria unless they have eight years’ relevant work experience outside Australia or five years in Australia.

Those without formal education qualifications will find permits hard to come by even though there are points for sponsorship by a family or local government in Australia, and for having a second language, those without formal qualifications would find it difficult to amass enough points.

An estimated 2,200 construction workers from Ireland were awarded skilled migrant resident visas to Australia in 2010.

“Come July 1st many of those workers who would have had no problem in obtaining a visa last year will now be turned away,” Edwina Shanahan of told the Irish Times..

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