Report: International students drive up Australian unemployment

A new report by Deakin Univer­sity’s Li Thi Tran has found that many international students that move to temporary graduate visas (class 485) struggle to gain employment in their field. Many are also left underemployed or unemployed. Yet, despite the poor outcomes, international students continue to pursue temporary graduate visas en masse because they represent a pathway to Australian permanent residency:

Data released by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) shows an over sevenfold increase in international graduates’ applications for the post-study visa (485 visa) scheme between 2013-2015, from 974 to 7160 (see figure 1)…

The key findings from the qualitative component of the research show that the poststudy work visa is not perceived to provide international graduates with a competitive advantage on the Australian labour market. Instead, the visa provides them with a pathway to permanent residency (PR)…

52 per cent of the survey respondents who have held the 485 visa (past and current visa holders) and remain in Australia are in full time employment (as compared to 53.8 per cent of all respondents), with 37 per cent and 15 per cent working full time in and outside their field of study respectively (see figure 2). Further, 16 per cent of respondents are working part-time and another 16 per cent as casuals, while the same proportion (16 per cent) are still looking for a job…

In terms of the usefulness of the post-study work visa, around 62 per cent indicated that they agree/strongly agree that the visa was useful in providing them with a pathway to permanent residence…

Research by the Australian Population Research Institute (APRI), based on 2016 Census data, similarly found that most overseas-born graduates (i.e. that arrived between 2011 and 2016) could not find professional jobs. That is, only 24% of overseas born graduates from Non-English-Speaking-Countries (who comprised 84% of the total) were employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of overseas born graduates from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates:

Given so many international graduates are failing to secure meaningful employment, and are instead adding to Australia’s pool of under/unemployed workers, why is Australia persisting with offering the most generous post- study visas in the world?

The answer is simple: many international students come to Australia not for the quality of education on offer, but as a backdoor means of gaining permanent residency.

Given the myriad of scandals afflicting Australia’s universities via the international student trade, it stands to reason that removing the direct link between studying in Australia and permanent residency is vital to cleaning up the system.

Let Australia’s universities compete on quality and value alone, not as a means of circumventing immigration policy.

Comments

  1. There needs to be a salary threshold. Let him have permanent residency if he has paid more than $30k/year income tax to the ATO for 10 years straight.

    The rest should be deported within 5 years of landing here. If you let them stay for too long, they whinge and say “oh no, I have been here for 8 years and my kids are in school here, etc”.

  2. “Let Australia’s universities compete on quality and value alone, not as a means of circumventing immigration policy”

    Uh, oh. It will turn out that they are not competitive at all.

    A bubble destroys everything on its way and leave ruins in its wake. Strayan unis are the latest casualties.

  3. unemployed foreign students don’t count into unemployed (they don’t count at all) bur employed ones do increase unemployment because Australians that miss out the job do count

  4. No work rights for students and their partners.

    If studying in Australia isn’t about working and remittances and or getting permanent residency, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      “The key findings from the qualitative component of the research show that the poststudy work visa is not perceived to provide international graduates with a competitive advantage on the Australian labour market. Instead, the visa provides them with a pathway to permanent residency

      That states it pretty unequivocally: If they’re not coming here to advance their career, then they’re coming here for something else – to take a piece of what we’ve worked and sacrificed for.

    • I agree. If it’s all about studying English and getting a superior education, then going back to your own country, there should be no problem if working here is prohibited and you are banned from applying for asylum/PR. It’s obviously all about a PR and if the good old bridging visa fails because nobody believes you’ve converted to Christianity and your relos will stone you to death, nothing else but working here making as much money as you can matters while it lasts. Worth a shot – Australia knows what it’s doing entertaining these users – glad I’ve woken up to them

      • There should be no asylum claims whilst on any other temporary visa. Asylum should only be claimed before coming to Australia.

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