Australia’s MATES scheme opens visa doors for Indian graduates

By Our Reporter
File photo/ Representational

Australia will start accepting visa applications from young Indian graduates later this year, according to reports. This is part of a new program called MATES, which stands for Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme. The program aims to fill skill shortages in Australia.

The scheme is for Indian university graduates and young professionals in fields like renewable energy, mining, engineering, technology, finance, and agriculture. It starts as a trial with 3,000 spots for applicants each year.

Australia and India joined hands on 23 May 2023, to form a Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA). This partnership framework facilitates the movement of people between the two countries while tackling problems related to illegal migration.

As part of the MMPA, MATES was introduced. Its goal is to promote the exchange of skills and knowledge that benefit both Australia and India.

The Department of Home Affairs states that eligibility includes:

Indian nationals who:

  • are aged 30 or younger (inclusive) at the time of application;
  • have not previously participated in MATES;
  • have proficient English language skills (overall IELTS or equivalent score of at least 6, with a minimum score of 5 for each of the four parts);
  • have graduated within 2 years from an eligible educational institution at the time of
    application; and
  • hold a qualification (Bachelor’s degree or higher) in one of the following:
    • renewable energy
    • mining
    • engineering
    • Information Communications Technology (ICT)
    • artificial intelligence (AI)
    • financial technology (FinTech)
    • agricultural technology (AgriTech).

There will be no requirement for sponsorship by an Australian employer to be eligible to apply for a visa as part of MATES.

MATES will start as a trial program, offering 3,000 spots for primary applicants each program year. Participants can also apply to bring their spouses and dependent children. These dependents will have the right to work in Australia and won’t be counted in the annual cap.

Visa holders will have a year to enter Australia for the first time, and once in, they can stay for up to 24 months. They can make multiple entries to Australia during this period. If they want to stay longer, they can apply for another visa for temporary or permanent residency, given they meet all the requirements.

Participants in MATES can only take part in the scheme once.

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