More proof international education is an immigration scam

One year ago, a group of academics released research showing that international student graduates on temporary (485) visas were struggling to find jobs in their field, with many being either underemployed in low-skilled jobs or unemployed.

However, because these international students perceive that the graduate (485) visa represents a pathway to permanent residency, they continued to arrive in Australia in huge numbers, as reflected in international student enrolments and graduate (485) visa numbers hitting a record high in 2019.

In October 2019, another report was released confirming that international student graduates were struggling to find work, with many occupying low-skilled positions or unemployed:

The number of international students who stay in Australia after graduating on the temporary graduate visa – often referred to as the 485 visa – is growing fast. There were nearly 92,000 temporary graduate visa holders in Australia as of June, 2019. That’s up from from around 71,000 in June 2018 – a 29% increase…

Australian government data shows occupations such as “sales assistants and salespersons” as well and “cleaners and laundry workers” are in the top three for 485 visa holders across all occupations.

Now researchers from Deakin and Charles Darwin universities are calling on the government to offer more generous graduate (485) visa access and assistance to entice more international students to study in Australia:

We conducted a survey in 2018-19 involving 1,156 international graduates. Most of them (76%) said Australia’s temporary graduate visa played a role in their decision to study in Australia.

But the sustainability of Australia’s international education will need to address issues relating to both post-study work visa arrangements and employment outcomes for international students after graduating.

Many employers lack understanding of the visa, prefer applicants with permanent residency or hold misconceptions of complex paperwork or sponsorship involved. The chance to gain work experience in their field during their study and after they graduate is limited for many international students…

Addressing existing barriers will enhance Australia’s reputation as a destination for quality education and a positive post study work experience.

The government and universities must also offer extended support to alumni stranded onshore, who may have been working here on their graduate visa but lost their job.

…especially for students from India

Indian students are most affected by the access to a post-study work visa. In our above-mentioned survey, 82% of Indian students considered the visa an important factor in their decision to choose Australia, compared to the average rate of 74% for non-Indian international students.

Delving into their actual report confirms that international students perceive the graduate (485) visa to be a vital ingredient to gaining permanent residency:

“As shown on Figure 7, participants who remained in Australia at the time of the survey (85%) showed high levels of agreements on the ranked statements that the temporary graduate visa has been a pathway to permanent residence” (p.18).

Thus, gaining employment via a graduate work visa is important for giving points in order to qualify for a permanent visa:

“For past holders of the 485 visa who remained in Australia, PR and TR visas leading to PR were the most common categories reported in the survey”.

Of course, this employment displaces other job aspirants – namely young Australians. And this report also explains how such student visas are not temporary at all:

“It also highlights the link between international education and permanent migration which resonates with the axiom that there “is nothing more permanent than temporary foreign workers” (Martin 2001)“(p.19).

Thus, this report basically explains the education-migration nexus whereby Australia sells permanent residency via the University bursar’s window.

Put another way, the international education industry is really just an immigration scam, with universities acting more like migration agents than educators.

The deleterious impact on Australia’s labour market is conveniently ignored, including the local graduates that will suffer from increased competition for jobs and lower wages.

Unlike temporary skilled shortage (TSS) visas, holders of graduate (485) visas are not required to be qualified for any of the jobs on the Skilled Occupation List. They do not need a firm offer of work from an employer. They are not required to be paid a minimum salary. Nor must they find a job related to their qualifications or require a certain level of skill.

Basically, 485 visa holders may work or study in any job, for any employer. And their visa remains valid even if they cannot find a job.

Therefore, any increase in graduate (485) visas presents another positive labour supply shock that will lower the bargaining power of younger Australians and local graduates, in turn placing downward pressure on wages.

Rather than loosing access to the 485 visa, it should be tightened significantly. Otherwise, wage growth will never recover, especially given current high unemployment.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Basically, 485 visa holders may work or study in any job, for any employer.

    You can even study to be a truck driver. Do it one hour a month over 4 years to keep your visa valid.
    Then you can do another 4 years on your bus driver course.

    Check here for a step-by-step guide

    • Doesn’t matter if you drive over a car killing a few kids on the M5 whilst on your phone, or kill some police officers whilst high on meth on the Eastern Freeway either.
      Just get a slap on the wrist and book a new licence exam.

    • Recall with wry amusement the habit of the occasional driver over at the sub-continent doing the needful by traversing a roundabout anticlockwise rather than have to go nearly all the way around clockwise. Keep on truckin’! Truckin’ your blues away! (with apologies to the amazing R Crumb)

  2. Surely they are going to struggle to get these taps turned on again while unemployment is so high? Even scomo would see it’s stupidity.

    • PaperRooDogMEMBER

      Indeed, however the Uni’s have access to gubbermint the youth do not, so almost certainly only one outcome

  3. ‘82% of Indian students considered the visa an important factor in their decision to choose Australia, compared to the average rate of 74% for non-Indian international students.’

    Does this mean Indian students are better informed about Uni in Australia, having correctly worked out that it a pay-to-play migration model, and if you are paying, you might as well get a passport out of it?

    And presumably the ABC will be the last ones to figure this out? We should outsource the ABC to India. Probably get better reporting on everything.

    ‘Common government rorts you can get in on today!’ – tonight at 7:30; followed by ‘Does your father or brother have a first name with the same alphabet as you? Learn how using initials instead of signatures can save you money at tax time!

    • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

      Why pay top dollar at a Uni when you can get the same result at a private college for much lower cost ?.

      Unis ain’t the problem here.

  4. Display NameMEMBER

    I cannot see how you could bring them in anytime in the next few years. There was 13.8% slack in labour market before covid. That figure is likely to be 18-20+% (sum of unemployed and under employed) for the next 2 years at least I am guessing.

    Add another 600K of international students plus migration to that will just kill young peoples hopes of getting a job. Millennials should march on Canberra with pitchforks.

    • You would have to drag them away from their #woke rallies and socials, they are being fed a volume of lies to keep them distracted from the real issues facing them, including that questioning any deluge of competition for their jobs is racist.

      • At least they’re campaigning some things worth campaigning for; but, yes, they really don’t know how they’re being screwed – I have fairly regular convos with younger people, letting them know what sorts of economic things are against them, and have they don’t have to be tilted against them, and how things were not always the way they are today.

  5. The Australia education industry prostitutes itself in foreign student & partners visa alibis.
    To allow third world slum clearance to enter Australia to live and work illegally on pretext visas & nonsense ‘courses’

    👉🏽An entire Chinese Hukuo underclass,
    👉🏽Indian gutter scrapings and rurals,
    👉🏽Whole impoverished Nepalese villages,
    👉🏽The dregs of south East Asia / abandoned mothers and bar life.
    👉🏽North Asian end of life hookers
    👉🏽Bangladeshi lowlife,
    👉🏽Middle Eastern zealots,
    👉🏽African war criminals.
    👉🏽The spawn of the San Paulo criminal class,

    👉🏽Fake education
    👉🏾No international accreditation

    🔹865,000 foreign students and partners.
    🔻805,000 on primary visas, with the majority doing nonsense courses available in their home country or free online.
    🔻60,000 so called ‘partners’, full work rights, no English, no skill & no assimilation checks.

    Allowed to enter Australia to live & work illegally.

    On fake funds and falsified foreign agent doctor health checks.

    To steal Australian jobs.
    75% or 650,000 work illegally (UTS & Sydney Uni studies) now even higher.
    No funds, in debt,
    Falsified health checks, found to be riddled with hep, TB, third world communicable disease.
    The foreign students a transmission vector and incubation hub of corona virus, spreading their disease to the Australian community.

    => A social, economic and bio security risk.

    Creating unemployment of at least 600,000 Australians with those welfare payments alone costing the Australian taxpayer some $19 billion – nearly double the so called foreign student ‘education’ fees paid.

    Occupying at least 180,000 ex Australian dwellings (at a generous 5 third world foreign students per dwelling) in foreign criminal run cash in hand bunk share.

    116,000 Australian permanent homeless and 340,000 seeking affordable housing – evicted & on the footpath as the foreign criminal landlords and migrant guestworkers occupy Australian low cost and public supported housing.
    Costing us another $4 billion.

    Destroying youth and mature age wages – again costing tens of billions more.

    They are not an export
    The money they use to pay for fees is earned here.
    At great cost and impact to Australians.

    Each foreign student creating a negative $35-45,000 direct negative cost impact to Australians.

    Creating vast filthy fetid overcrowded third world slums of migrant guestworkers on pretext student visas.

    The mainstay of the Australian vice industry, tens of thousands of Asian females trafficked in for vice (which btw is a legal income source in nsw no identities or tax paid)
    The foreign students the mainstay of the black market / ABN labour rings & the migrant underground criminal economy.

    And once in Australia…
    Put to work in the foreign criminal run black economy or vice – to repay their foreign trafficker procurer debt, to to send back remittances.

    Lying, cheating, stealing jobs & housing.

    Filthing up our society.

    Degrading our education. Fallen 10 places globally.



    All of this third world detritus trying to churn and extend their visas and COe.
    8 or 9 years as a TR ‘foreign student’ or ‘partner’ in nonsense English courses. Child care, cooking or a business studies diploma – still can’t speak English, paid for their assignments, learnt nothing.

    They are only here to steal jobs, live and work illegally and to try secure a PR. To be a PR anchor to bring in for the rest of their third world lowlife.
    The entire foreign student industry is a debased corrupt migrant guestworker scam.

    But now we don’t need an underclass of 865,000 low life migrant guestworkers on pretext visas.

    Not with 3 million Australian unemployed.

    Remove all work rights
    Check all identities and location / living details
    Check all funds and visa / COe validity

    Deport all the foreign students without funds or a valid COe – that will be the vast majority of them.
    They are in visa breach and they are criminal migrant illegals.

  6. As the owner of an ELICOS school, I can certainly confirm this, however it wasn’t always the case. The migration model came to the fore in the early to mid-2000s, when changes to the visa system were made by the Howard government. The consequences have been disastrous – margins have been absolutely slaughtered, which has had a negative impact on quality.
    Disclaimer – I’ve made a conscious effort to pursue markets that don’t want a PR outcome, for numerous reasons, including maintaining quality education standards and protecting margins. Definitely the exception rather than the rule though.

    • So no students from the sub-continent then?

      I could imagine that being a unique selling point in itself.

    • Is it true that foreign students pay once for 2 years in an English language school and then again For their actual degree at the uni? How long are they in the system on average?

      Is it also true that they do an English language test to get into uni and then a harder one to get PR? In this case does it explain why I’ve written postgraduate assignments for team mates who seemed to have some English comprehension but pretty much zero English writing skills? Surely if this wasn’t a scam you should need better English to do Postgrad studies than to get by in general society? How do these guys graduate?

      • The vast majority of the 865,000 foreign students & partners (805,000 on a primary visa, full or restructure work rights & 60,000 as so called ‘partners’ no course obligation, skill or language test & full work rights)…

        …are doing extremely low level easily cheated dragged out courses that by design require minimal attendance.

        Few, if any direct exams (group assignments, online submission). It’s all by design.

        English (ElT) – only 15 or so of the 45 on enrolment turn up after week 3 – they are all out working either in the brothels or the car wash / factory / 711 etc.
        The ‘education’? 8 year level English copied from a primary school, cartoon colouring in books, group activities, backpacker or ‘sponsor visa’ teachers & admin staff all on the $$ take to mark off the roll.

        Many of these ‘foreign students’ had the opportunity of free English education in their country of origin.
        The fact they need English training as a prerequisite to further ‘courses’ is that most are very mature adults 25 -35 years or older – many never completed any education in their home country- and they are long term misfit unemployed – itinerant trash, petty criminals, bar girls, abandoned mothers – the kids dumped with the family.
        This detritus is actively exported by their third world country and the foreign criminal traffickers for the remittances earnings ($3 billion a decade ago to now $18 billion sent out : World Bank 2019)

        Trafficked into Australia with the intent to live and work illegally to repay agent procurer debt and send back remittances- the absolute gutter & slum detritus of the third world.

        3 attempts or more allowed at English ELT (easily cheated) as precursor to a ‘certificate or degree’ which can take up to 2 years, or else off to the appeals tribunal as soon as it looks like they may be exited for non attendance.

        The ‘degrees’, ‘diplomas’ & certificates.

        Childcare & baby sitting ‘ early childhood education) or say ‘cooking’ or hospitality – photo copies from some 13 year old level high school course.

        ‘Business studies’ or project management certificates & diplomas – basically a 13 year old level high school business studies 4 week course – stretched out over 4 years or more in a ‘certificate’, ‘diploma’, ‘advanced diploma’.
        IT and engineering or other courses the same.

        All low level easily cheated rote learning nonsense, minimised in attendance and assignments, stretched out and delivered by pseudo educators or migrants themselves on a sponsored visa racket.

        Or say the white collar degrees – eg Accounting – the third year UNSW – teacher a Filipino bookkeeper who himself can’t speak English, the entire class of Chinese and a few Indians plus a few eurotrash – who don’t know what a balance sheet is.
        It’s a farce.
        Post graduate.
        This gives ‘full’ work rights.
        After 4 years they still can’t speak English, have a splendid array of falsified achievements, have little or no comprehension of what they studied.
        Go visit an ‘international student’ campus, a Uni of college or institute. See for yourself.

        Overseas view.
        Much of the foreign student ‘education’ in Australia has no international recognition.
        What does have some ‘nominal’ international recognition overseas it is widely seen as the joke it is.
        In Asia it’s called a ‘prostitute & pimp degree’.
        In India, Bangladeshi, the Middle East it’s seen as they way to get into a western country in what is basically a very long term visa, false identities, falsified health checks, falsified funds, live and work illegally, repay the family debt, send money back to the village, snag a PR, get on the welfare, suck up the Medicare & sponsor in the rest of the burden.

        And our government knows it’s a fraud.
        They know our education system is prostituted to a a visa alibi for third world unskilled migrants to enter and live and work here illegally.

        Blame Michael Knight, Howard, Rudd Gillard Rudd, Abbott, Pyne, Morrison etc – they all sold out Australia.

        As example:
        The ‘Migrant Pathways A Decade On’ report examined over 10 years of foreign students who passed thru the Australian foreign student education.
        That report found that only 3.6% of foreign students in Australia achieved a vocation with a higher than average income & vocation in either Australia or the few who went back to their country of origin.

        That’s right – 96% of the third world gutter scrapings who were allowed in on pretext student or partner visas remained non achieving useless. Most in fact remained in the Foreign criminal run black economy.

        Negative Human Capital.

        When granted an Australian PR, they become a net welfare and social burden.
        Then add on many more as the foreign student not a PR acted as anchor to ‘sponsor’ or ‘bring in a partner’ or ‘family’ that were totally unskilled and a further parasitic non assimilated social burden.

        We are talking over a million or more useless third world migrants given PR grants ..
        Who cripple Australia in lowered skills, lower gdp per Capita, living in vast recreations of their migrant slums of origin in our major cities, and now as a PR a Centrelink & Medicare burden.

        That’s why the Productivity Commission later in their report said that ‘foreign students and partners WERE NOT a suitable PR intake.

        But the number has doubled since.
        And they are here. Don’t go back, even with clearly no funds, not attending classes, in breach of their visa and COe – still here.
        75% working illegally, stealing over 700,000 Australian jobs.
        And still no action in rounding them up and deportation en masse.

  7. Leith, if you haven’t already, you might like to pick apart the Lukenomics section of this week’s The Weekly, from iView.

    I normally like The Weekly, and Lukenomics, but Luke McGregor was trying way too hard to only say positive things about mass immigration, and presented a very politicised assessment of mass immigration/immigration, omitting very significant considerations.

  8. I like the Indians more than the Chinese.
    I like the Chinese too but you just can’t tell which of them are CCP nut jobs and which aren’t. The CCP is not as popular in India

  9. Speaking with some authority Mike, I can say that Punjabis have led the ABF fraud allegation stats by a country mile since 2007. The whole onshore vocational skilled migration fraud and the consequent Punjabi swarm started when Trades Recognition Australia started assessing
    vocational skills on the papers rather than a through a physical test.

    • Why we grant PR off shore, to anyone, particularly those known for fraudulent activity, is a mystery.