Australia Offering A ‘World Class’ Education That You Can’t Use
Despite the evident cultural and economic benefits of offering education to overseas students, Australia is hardly helping its international graduates.
The Australian government granted an additional 16,000 temporary working visas to graduates in the past year, but international students argue that businesses are still refusing to offer them employment.
International student Chen Zhao is about to commence his final year of study at the University of Technology Sydney. He said finding employment in the Australian workforce is extremely tough.
“It is really difficult, for all international students, to find a suitable job in Sydney,” Zhao said.
“I think it’s because we… hold temporary visas here. The companies want to employ people who can stay here for a long time."
In March 2018 the Department of Home Affairs revealed that over 50,000 students held a 485 temporary working visa, nearly 30,000 more than in December 2011 and 16,000 more than in March 2017.
This visa subclass allows graduate international students to work in Australia for up to four years, (depending on their degree), at the conclusion of their tertiary studies.
Despite the dramatic increase of granted 485 visas, Maria Shumusti from the Council Of International Student Relations said universities and the Department of Education & Training is failing to support international students transitioning into the workforce.
“The highest concerning factor… is employability after graduation. A lot of [international] students are left clueless and without options or a career,” Shumusti said.
“In some states there is not enough guidance from providers [universities] and the Department of Education and Training in terms of how to approach your career path after you graduate.”
In June 2018, 323,948 students were enrolled in Australia’s higher education sector, a 14 percent increase from the previous year according to the Department Of Education & Training.
International students enrollments in higher education has also increased from 177,760 in 2007 to a staggering 350,472 in 2017.
As a result, international students have contributed $32 Billion to the Australian economy (2017-2018 Financial year), according to Universities Australia.
Education was also the third largest goods and services export in the 2016-2017 financial year, contributing $28 billion and ranking closely behind Iron Ore ($62.8b) and Coal ($54.3b).
Shumusti said Australians occasionally fail to appreciate the cultural and economic benefits of providing a ‘world-class’ education to thousands of international students.
“International students bring a lot to the Australian educational sector… I think it is important for the Australian government [to cherish international students] because of the contribution that they make."
READ MORE: Australia Is Better Off With Immigration
Australia needs to provide adequate employment opportunities for all graduates, said Professor of Economics at the University of Canberra, Phil Lewis.
He believes that Australians currently neglect the cultural and economic benefits derived from all overseas migration and that they must change their stance on employing overseas students.
“We have given these people a first class education and the idea is that Australia can get some benefit from that education, rather than all the benefits going back to their home country,” Professor Lewis said.
“They not only create jobs for themselves, they create jobs for others. That’s the beauty of migration, it actually pays for itself and improves the productive capacity of the economy, but people don’t see it that way.
Although the Morrison government has floated the idea of immigration reform for major Australian cities, international students should not be affected.
It is likely that the number of 485 visas granted by the Department of Home Affairs will continue to rise in the future as thousands more international students arrive in Australia to study each year.