Exciting news from Down Under – Australia has just announced an extension to post-study work permits for international students with in-demand skills. This means that students with sought-after skills for the workforce will be able to stay and work in Australia for a longer period of time.
The new changes include an increase in post-study work rights for international students in select degrees across all levels of higher education in Australia. Bachelor’s degrees will have post-graduate work permits increased from two to four years, while Masters’ degrees will have post-study work rights increased from three to five years. PhD work rights will be increased from four to six years. However, the degree programs eligible for the increased post-study work permits have not yet been announced.
It’s no secret that Australia has been facing critical skills shortages, with almost half a million vacancies in the engineering, technology, and nursing sectors. The announcement of increasing post-study work permits was made at the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, where the Australian government explained that this move will help to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labor in the country.
To advise Australia’s Home Affairs and Education Ministers on the development of this and other relevant issues, a working group will be set up. The working group, consisting of representatives from the Council of International Education, Universities Australia, the National Tertiary Education Union, and the Departments of Home Affairs and Education, will report to the Ministers by 28 October 2022.
According to Jason Clare, Minister for Education, only 16% of international students stay in Australia after completing their studies. He believes that allowing international students to stay longer will enable them to use the skills they gained in Australia to help fill the workforce shortages across the country. Clare O’Neil, Minister for Home Affairs, also pointed out that the pandemic heavily impacted Australia’s international education industry, and the Jobs and Skills Summit would support international education and give students with Australian degrees the chance to contribute to the productivity of Australia’s economy.
The decision to extend post-study work rights has been welcomed by Australia’s international education sector, with stakeholders expecting the new measures to help boost the country’s workforce and increase Australia’s appeal to international students as a study destination. In addition to increasing the post-study work permit for international students, Australia has also invested $36.1 million in visa processing, which will allow the country to support 500 surge staff over the next nine months, significantly benefiting the international education sector.