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The American Dream is now the Australian Dream: Down Under immigration lawyer highlights why

According to Traci Yan Yan Chen, Australia is now letting in more migrants than ever, particularly if they have the right skills to help reduce the significant skills shortage.

Traci Chen
Photo courtesy Traci Chen
Photo courtesy Traci Chen

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

If the idea of The Australian Dream is one you are considering, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of Americans leave their hometown behind and head to the Land Down Under in search for a better life. They’re attracted by the country’s strong economy, vibrant culture and diverse landscape (and let’s not forget the cuddly koalas).

Unfortunately there’s one thing holding many Americans back from achieving The Australian Dream – the strict immigration rules the country has had in place over the years.

According to Australian migration lawyer Traci Yan Yan Chen, CEO of Maison Chen Law Group, that’s changing. Australia is now letting more migrants than ever into the country, particularly if they have the right skills to help reduce the significant skills shortage Australia is currently facing.

According to the country’s National Skills Commission, registered nurses, software engineers and teachers are the most in-demand professions, followed by construction managers, engineers and motor mechanics.

Chen says this shortage is leading to the most significant changes in Australian migration, which took a major dip during the COVID-19 frenzy.

“I heard that Australia needs around a million people to keep up with the workload,” Chen says.

Australia was one of the first countries to shut their borders completely when COVID-19 hit in early 2020. It wasn’t until Christmas 2021 when borders reopened, but with strict regulations in place, thereby making it hard for anyone to enter the country.

In comparison, borders in the United States were opened at the start of 2021 by President Joe Biden. He took a more proactive approach and relaxed restrictions while introducing enhanced health protocols to allow visitors into the country.

Most Australians were happy with the decision to shut the borders and keep COVID-19 out. But as time went by, businesses and the economy began to suffer due to the lack of skilled workers and cashflow coming in. For migrants, the laws were confusing, which is why Traci uses her social media platforms to keep potential migrants up to date on the ever-shifting laws and policies.

“Migration law in Australia is the only law that changes daily,” she says. “Borders are open, then they close. They’re open again, then closed to certain countries. Some countries have to do a COVID-19 test. Others don’t.”

She says she constantly tried to relay information to the public and found it easier to do so through Instagram.

“For younger generations in particular, it makes this information more accessible, approachable and understandable,” she says.

And while in 2023, borders have opened up for both countries, there are significant differences in the laws regarding migration that Americans may not be aware of.

The U.S. has one of the most lax immigration systems in the world, with a high approval rate for green cards and visas and various pathways available to become a citizen. In Australia, strict regulations exist deciding who can obtain a visa or become a permanent resident.

Despite its strict rules, many Americans are still drawn to Australia for its attractive lifestyle and employment market – particularly those with the skills that are in high demand.

A migrant herself, Chen knows how hard it can be to start a new life in Australia — though she says it helps that the laws are changing.

“In 2022, with immigration, we went from inviting a few thousand individuals for permanent residency to inviting tens of thousands.”

One key program she wants potential migrants to know about is the 2022-23 Migration Program, which was introduced at the end of 2022. The program aims to make more permanent visas available, making it easier for migrants to apply. Essentially, the program aims to get Australia’s economy back on track in terms of growth.

This includes 142,400 residency places for skills-based migrants to make the economy more productive and fill skill gaps on the job market — especially outside of major cities — and 52,500 places for families, which are predominantly partner visas so families can be reunited.

Chen says that while migrants to Australia often have lofty expectations about their new life, they must also be prepared for the many challenges of living in a new country.

“The American Dream is now The Australian Dream,” she says. “It’s the absolute dream to come to Australia. It’s all many think about. And my goal is to help get them here.”

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Written By

George Nellist is a public relations, marketing and strategic brand expert who has executed social media and strategic marketing campaigns for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. For more information, visit Ascend Agency.

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