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Kushal Patel moved to Canberra from Melbourne in the hope of a better and certain future. He chose Canberra for one simple reason: He could apply for permanent residency in the ACT even if the occupation closed.
"Canberra started this program last year. I was studying in Melbourne. I moved to Canberra as it increased my chances of getting a permanent residency," he told SBS Hindi.
"But they suspended the program on June 29 without any prior notice."
The ACT had a provision for residents: They could apply their nominated occupation was listed as ‘closed' on the current ACT Occupation List.
This provision is no longer available. The notice displayed on the ACT web portal www.canberrayourfuture.com.au states:
EFFECTIVE 4:00PM AEST FRIDAY 29 JUNE 2018:
• You are eligible to apply for ACT 190 nomination if your nominated occupation is listed as ‘open’ on the current ACT Occupation List.
• You are not eligible to apply for ACT 190 nomination if your nominated occupation is listed as ‘closed' on the current ACT Occupation List.
• The ACT 190 nomination program remains closed for overseas applicants without close ties to Canberra and is now closed to overseas applicants with close ties to Canberra.
A registered Migration and Education consultant, Chaman Preet said many people's hopes have been shattered with these changes.
"As we know, Canberra was offering 190 nominations to applicants for closed occupations on their skill list if they met the Canberra residence requirements," she said.
"This has been in place since January 2018. Due to this a lot of applicants especially those on 485 moved to Canberra and started Looking for jobs in their nominated occupations or enrolled in studies."
The closed occupations on Canberra’s list include popular occupations like accountants, cafe and restaurant managers and ICT business analysts, which according to Mr Preet, have been the hardest hit.
The new rule has also affected overseas applicants who were hoping to apply for ACT nomination. The Australian Capital Territory has closed its program for overseas applicants too.
This change has cost student Kushal Patel valuable time and money, and he believes thousands of others who moved to Canberra have been similarly impacted.
"I had paid for my course here in Canberra. Now I will have to move to some other state," he said. "I will have to find a new course and pay for it."