Under new visa rules announced by Education Minister Jason Clare, overseas students will have an additional two years to stay and work in Australia. The initiative is a first step towards encouraging more overseas students to pursue tracks leading to permanent migration, but it will only be available to those who complete programs in fields where there is a lack of skilled labour, such as nursing, teaching, IT, and engineering.
Under the new rules, bachelor’s degree holders will now be permitted to stay for four years instead of only two. Master’s graduates’ post-study work-rights visas will expand from three to five, while PhD graduates’ stay period will extend from four to six years.
As part of the government’s largest reform of the migration system since the conclusion of World War II, tens of thousands of overseas graduates will be given the opportunity to work in Australia for an extended period of time. The Jobs and Skills Summit’s major headline on Friday was a pact to enhance the number of years international students may work in Australia after receiving their degrees and raise the permanent intake to 195,000 in 2022–23.
Earlier this week, Mr. Clare met with the Council for International Education to examine how to increase the 16% of international students who subsequently become permanent migrants to 20%. The figure is 27% in Canada.
On Tuesday, Mr. Clare said at The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit that there needed to be greater incentives for overseas students to continue working after they graduate since they were a valuable supply of labour while they were studying. Mr Clare said, ”when they graduate they go home. It would be great if they stayed on and helped us fill some of those chronic skill gaps … Seems to me like a no-brainer”.
According to Chris Stoltz, a professor of practice in engineering at La Trobe University, more foreign-trained engineers working in Australia, would significantly lessen the strain on the business. According to Engineers Australia’s most recent statistics, there is a yearly need for roughly 16,000 engineering graduates in Australia, but only about 9000 are actually produced by universities. However, 47% of immigrants who are actively looking for work as engineers are now unemployed and frequently turn to less skilled jobs to make ends meet.
His assertions are supported by research that demonstrates that although international graduates’ educational attainment tended to be significantly higher than that of the general population, they frequently struggled to find employment in the field of their degrees and frequently ended up in low-skilled jobs in the hospitality and care industries.
Abul Rizvi, an immigration specialist, disagreed, stating that remaining longer in Australia was not the solution for graduates to obtain permanent status. According to Mr. Rizvi., they need to have held a skilled profession in order to qualify for permanent residency. However, it is frequently very difficult for them to find competent work while they are here, and many wind up in dead-end jobs.
Mr. Clare stated that he was aware of worries that students would swarm educational institutions with the express purpose of obtaining residence. The lifting of a limit on the number of hours students may work each week has caused the higher education sector to already raise an alarm over sharp rises in visa requests from India and Nepal.
The Morrison administration abolished the 40-hour limit per week for student employment.
Applications from Nepal in particular have increased significantly during the previous year, rising over 70%. There were 6312 applications from Nepal for vocational studies in Australia as of the end of March, with a remarkable 85% of those applications being granted visas. China and India, the two main nations from which overseas students are enrolled, received 3930 and 3483 applications, respectively.
Mr. Rizvi, who has expressed worries about the sharp increase in Nepalese applications for student visas, has also asserted that extending the time that students may remain in the country after graduating will not help solve the skills gap.
He tweeted, “longer post-study work visas are not the solution – that just increases students in immigration limbo. Better to guide overseas students into quality courses relevant to OZ long-term skill needs & transparent pathway to PR for high-performing students”.