Why Chinese Students Have a Strong Desire for Permanent Residency


Chinese students of University of Sydney, photoed by Yutong Liu

“Permanent residency is somehow my goal for a long time”

Jennie Zou is waiting for the train to NAATI class, photoed by Yutong Liu

On the early Saturday morning, Jeenie Zou braved chilly and walked hasty for her NAATI, a certification of translation class at 8am. “I have no time to make up and have breakfast,” She said. “I slept at around 3am yesterday to finish my assignment, so I got up late today and almost missed the train!”

The NAATI class was almost all-day from 8am to 5pm. When she came back to home, instant noodles was the only choice for her. “I am too tired after a day’s class and there are still lots of readings waiting for me.” She said.

Jennie Zou, a Chinese girl from Wuhan province, came to University of Sydney for master degree in last September. When she chose to study abroad in Australia, she had a clear goal——getting the permanent presidency. Therefore, for her, the learning days here are much more harder than others.

In order to be eligible for permanent presidency, she changed her major from Television Broadcasting to Juris Doctors degree, a major in Skilled Occupation List (SOL) for applying the permanent residency.

Learning Juris Doctors degree is not as simple as she imagined before, given that she has no relative background of law. “Usually, a short reading will take a very long time, let alone other longer and complex readings,” She said.

In addition, NAATI class is necessary for her because passing the NAATI exam will further increase the opportunity of getting the permanent presidency.

“ At the first time, I think I will easily get the permanent presidency,” Jennie Zou smiled. “However, although it is difficult, permanent presidency is somehow my goal for a long time.”

Escalating Chinese students come to Australia for migration

   Chinese students of University of Sydney, photoed by Yutong Liu

Apart from Jennie Zou, permanent presidency is a shared goal of a large number of Chinese students. Australia has seen an increasing number of Chinese students study abroad here mainly for permanent residency in the past years.

According to the latest statistics released by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, as for the applicants of Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), the most plausible temporary visa for permanent residency, Chinese students has accounts for the largest proportion in the past successive two years, with an increase from 9,687 in 2015-2016 to 11,2556 in 2016-2017.

The tightening trend on Australian migration policy

Actually, as one of the previous easiest countries for migration, Australia is continuing to tighten the immigration policy these years.

On 18 April 2017, the government announced that the Temporary Work (skilled) visa (subclass 457) would be abolished and replaced with the completely new Temporary Skill Shortages (TTS) visa with mandatory requirement of 2 years work experience.

The Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189), one of the pathways for Chinese students to get permanent residency has also seen an escalating requirement on points score (a benchmark of eligibility), while the amount of invitation has significantly decreased over the past years.

                                       Invitations issued during 2017-18 program year

Other kinds of temporary visas have also seen a higher requirement on English skills and points score.

Chinese students may suffer from huge pressures

Undoubtedly, like Jennie Zou, all the Chinese students must pay their price for the permanent presidency, both psychologically and financially.

Crystal Zhou, a Chinese student from Chengdu province, determined to transfer to University of Tasmania after two months learning in Queensland University. “I know Queensland University is much better than Tasmania University,” She said. “But in order to get 5 more points, I must choose Tasmania University”.

According to the points table of 189 visa, studying in regional Australia like University of Tasmania can get additional 5 points, which means that there are more possible chances for Crystal Zhou to compete with other applicants.

However, life in Tasmania is a huge challenge for Crystal Zhou. “I don’t have Chinese friends studying in Tasmania, so I always feel lonely,” She said. Moreover, inconvenient transportation and heavy study also potentially exert mental pressure on her.

Also, for Jennie Zou, expensive annual tuition fees, along with longer study duration of 3 years are unquestionably a high financial requirement for the middle-class family.

Why Chinese students still desire for immigration

Since the implement of reform and opening policy in 1978, China has made numerous astonishing achievements and risen to the second largest economy in the world.

Particularly in 2013, China promoted the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, which is the most grandest and far-reaching plan yet, has created vast numbers of job opportunities within all walks of life.

Under the China’s positive employment market, why still a growing number of Chinese students intent to work and live forever in Australia with huge pressures from multiple aspects.

“My parents want me to live with better environment,” jennie Zou said. Compared with China, “Australia is more livable because of its natural landscape and fresh air.”

As the Better Life index of OECD indicates that Australia performs above the average in environmental quality, health status, income and wealth.

However, due to the huge population and limited resources, it is hard for China to achieve fair distribution of wealth and widespread enjoyment of national entitlement and welfare.

“That’s the most important reason why I want to migrate to Australia,” Crystal Zhou said. “With better social welfare like healthcare and all kinds of insurance, I can live more relaxed without heavy life pressure.”

According to migration expert Dr. Chris F. Wright, Chinese parenting style is another important reason. “Most of the Chinese parents want their children to have a broader horizon,” Dr. Chris said. In addition, Dr. Chris said Chinese parents also want their children to get rid of the huge work and life pressures in China and have a competitive advantage with other local Chinese students.

In addition, “Chinese parents always want their children to enroll the majors best guarantee their future,” Dr. Chris said. “Parents will say this is the area you can get lots of money and prosperity.” Therefore, Chinese parents tend to think that Australia is a easy-to-migrate country which meets their expectation.

Such aspirations and hope of Chinese parents toward their children make a great contribution to the continual influx of Chinese students to study in Australia and then apply for permanent residency.

Is permanent residency a really good choice?

             Stephen Li, photoed by Yutong Liu

Stephen Li, 28, graduated three years ago with a professional accounting degree from University of Sydney and then got the permanent residency in 2017. Now, he works as a professional fitness instructor in Sydney.

After graduating from university, he failed to find a decent job related to his major. “Luckily, I finally get a job as a fitness instructor and my employer sponsored me for the permanent presidency,” Stephen Li said.

However, “Sometimes, I feel a little confused,” Stephen Li said. “My job now has no relation to my accounting major and the salary is much less compared with the money I invested in university.”

During the two years of studying, his parents spent about 1million Chinese yuan ($20000) to afford his tuition fees. Now, his salary is 130 Chinese yuan ($26) per hour. The monthly salary is unstable and heavily depends on the amount of his customers.

Most of Chinese students come to Australia with a hopeful perspective towards the work and life here . “The life here maybe not as good as they imagined before,” Dr. Chris said. Cultural gaps and differences in language are some of the factors that impede the Chinese students from truly blending in the locals.

Therefore, Dr. Chris advises that rather than blindly follow the migration trend, Chinese students need to considerate thoroughly before applying for permanent residency. “ They may face with a set of problems,” Dr. Chris said. “They must be ready for the possible challenges here in advance.”










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