More than one lakh students from India enrolled in Australian educational institutions during 2018, constituting 12.4 per cent of the overall international enrolments. This was a rise of 24.5 per cent over the previous calendar year. China continued to lead with 2.56 lakh students (or 29 per cent of the total).
Australia has announced an ‘Additional Temporary Graduate’ visa with an extra year of post-study work rights for international students who graduate from the regional campus of a registered university. At present, students who study at the bachelor’s or master’s degree level in Australia (usually 2 or 3 years) get a two-year post-study work visa. By offering students an extra year in Australia on a post-study work visa if they study in regional areas, the country aims to kill two birds with one stone.
The ‘additional temporary graduate’ visa by Australia to international students will help in its overall plan to decongest popular areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It will also help attract more international students.
As students need to graduate from a regional campus and then spend at least two years residing in a regional area to qualify, the ‘Additional Temporary Graduate’ visa will be available to the first eligible cohort of graduates from 2021, states a recent release from Australia’s department of home affairs. For those students who are currently holding the Temporary Graduate (sub class 485) visa, which is the existing post-study work visa, ongoing residence in a regional area could qualify them for an additional year.
In a separate release dated March 20, PM Scott Morrison announced new tertiary scholarships to attract Australian and international students to study in regional Australia. Worth Australian $15,000, these scholarships will be available to more than 1,000 local and international students each year.
Zahirah Ismail, Perth-based managing director at the immigration service company Home of Visas, told TOI: “An additional year for graduates shows that policy-makers are acknowledging the difficulties faced by students as they attempt to gain relevant work experience. In several occupations, in order for an applicant to gain positive skills assessment, they are required to demonstrate at least three years of relevant work experience post their qualification.” She recommends that international students should look at employment prospects for each territory and best match this data against occupation lists for migration purposes.
Andrew Everett, deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president, global strategy, at Charles Darwin University, said: “CDU is examining how best to provide for international students who might qualify for an Additional Temporary Graduate visa.” Spread over various campuses, including regional campuses, 10% of CDU’s 20,000 students are of foreign origin, the majority of them from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China.
Several students also want to put down roots and work long term in the host country. In this context, Cyrus Mistry, director at EasyMigrate Consultancy Services, told TOI: “Introduction of new Regional (Provisional) visas, which provide an option of conversion to permanent residency after a tenure of three years, could also be attractive to international students, provided they are willing to settle in regional areas.”