Australia urged to take advantage of international student talent

11 May 2021
Posted by Study Group

Australia urged to take advantage of international student talent 

COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on population growth and immigration, but international student migration can help to offset this, with benefits for Australia, which go well beyond benefits to the economy.

Alex Chevrolle, Study Group Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, comments on how Australia's focus on the loss of international students has been short term and needs to change, if the country is able to attract international students back to its shores:

“International students when they graduate fill skills shortages, work hard, pay taxes and contribute to the ever-increasing diverse fabric of Australia’s cultural life. We see it in business, media, sports, food and in the arts.

"Census data indicates highly educated and higher income migrants boost productivity and workforce participation as well as contributing to the economy and society through higher taxes.

"There are strong economic benefits from retaining international students as residents once they graduate and social benefits such as improved cultural literacy, stronger cultural linkages and enhanced cultural capital in Australia let alone the student's country of origin.

“Currently, Australia is missing out on a highly qualified pool of young individuals who develop strong ties and values aligned to the Australian community.

"The negative impact of COVID-19 on Australian population growth has been stark and will be felt for generations. There is an immediate shortage of skilled migrants and longer term this will mean a smaller, older Australia which is poorer as a result with lower living standards.

"While we wait, other countries like Canada, the US and the UK are attracting international students in their droves."

Alex Chevrolle adds:

"Australia's message to international students need to change; we need to make them feel welcome again and positive about considering Australia as a potential new home. And while economically and socially it seems obvious to want international students to become permanent residents to help us turn Australia around, our current messaging to them is unclear.

"We have this paradox of welcome versus exclusion, so it is encouraging to see positive moves such as the relaxation of face-to-face requirements for student visa holders and that visa holders can still apply for a post-study work visa even if they are studying offshore.

"The Australian budget in May needs to build on the financial support for students impacted by the pandemic and reconsider the policies and language used to better reflect the significant long term benefits international students offer as future residents of this country."

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