Student visa changes have mixed reaction

While the recent student visa reforms have been praised by the federal government for opening the gates to international students and keeping them in the country longer, a labour market researcher has criticised the reforms for their apparent lack of order.  

Dr Bob Birrell from Monash University told The Australian that the changes, which included a streamlined visa process and the right to work for up to two years after graduation, will not positively effect the Australian marketplace. Instead, he believes that, like the 2005-08 “cooks and hairdressers boom”, it would only be the cheapest and quickest qualifications that would enjoy the most dramatic growth.

“I see no reason why this couldn’t happen again,” Dr Birrell said.

“It is disturbing that there’s been no modelling.”

However, tourism minister Martin Ferguson believes the student visa changes will be the solution to the job shortage in the tourism sector. He said that the industry requires a significant increase in the size of its labour force if it’s to meet projected growth.

Recruitment difficulties, skills deficiencies and retention difficulties “are the most prominent labour force pressures facing the industry”, he said.

Looking ahead, the Australian government has assured it will scrap post-study work rights if local labour markets became too tight.

To read more about the visa reforms, see the Australian Visa Bureau.

0 thoughts on “Student visa changes have mixed reaction

  • October 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Think accounting which does not require professional experience to apply for PR, will be the preferred “soft” university course choice, also helped apparently by intense lobbying by universities in 2010 for it to remain on the skilled occupation list due to the income it generates.

    Ironically, the Clarius skills index includes chefs and hairdressers, while it appears VET/TAFE Diploma graduates of tourism and hospitality certificates and diplomas, with practical skills and languages, will not be eligible for post graduation work rights (unless they apply for Job Ready test bridging visa for PR, even though that outcome would appear very very difficult, if not impossible).

    Further, universities will now be directly accountable and responsible for visa compliance…. a whole new skill set for international administrators used to making travel plans for “marketing”……


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