Graduating International Students Get Two More Years of Work Rights

The Australian Government is raising the length of work visas for international students in a bid to get graduates in key industries and keep them there. We have been keenly watching how the Canadian Government has been handling its immigration challenges and they manage to turn migrant students into permanent residents at a rate of 27%. The rate of migrant students to PR in Australia is just 16%. Education Minister Jason Clare announced the changes to the length of work rights for visiting students earlier this month at the Higher Education Summit. Previously when Mr. Clare was asked about international students staying in Australia after their studies finish, he stated “where we have got skill shortages – they are chronic across the economy at the moment – it makes sense to encourage them to stay longer”.


Education Qualification and the Area of Study are Key

Previously graduates doing a bachelor’s degree could work another 2 years after finishing studying, but this has now been increased to four years. Graduates working towards their master’s can seek a work visa for five years up from three years. PhD Degree graduates will have their post-study visa duration increased from 4 to 6 years.

Not all students will see their post-study work rights lengthened by two years. The areas of study need to be in skill shortage areas like engineering, Information Technology, nursing, and teaching.


More Work to be Done Matching Skills to Jobs

While lengthening work rights is a good start its not going to raise the number of migrant students staying on to PR overnight and without further tweaking. Expert immigration advisor Abul Rizvi commented “Longer post-study work visas are not the solution – that just increases students in immigration limbo. Better to guide overseas students into quality courses relevant to OZ long-term skill needs & transparent pathway to PR for high-performing students”.

Jason Clare mentioned in an interview in June “I think that there’s a lot of good work we could also do in trying to match the type of courses that international students do here with skill shortages. So, at the moment, a lot of them are studying in business and commerce. We’ve got big gaps in our economy in the health care sector. If we can match that better, the benefits for Australia will be more.

As always, when incentives are increased, more people take shortcuts to get benefits. When the previous government lifted international student working hour limits in December, some migrants saw a student visa as another way to get a work visa. We saw recently Nepalese and Thailand students drawing attention as over half of all applications were found to contain fraudulent documentation.

In any case, we need to focus on keeping our top international students in Australia and contributing to key industries that are low on skilled workers.


NB Migration Law can help

Many of the lawyers and agents at NB Migration were international students in the past and understand the complexities and frustrations associated with student visas. We would love to help you with all your visa requirements.

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