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.