Australia has announced extensions to post-study work permits for international students with in-demand skills.
Under the new changes, international students with in-demand skills for the workforce will be able to stay and work in Australia for longer.
Post-study work rights for international students in select degrees will be increased by two years across all levels of higher education in Australia:
- Bachelor’s degrees will have post-graduate work permits increased from two to four years.
- 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.
The degree programs that will be eligible for the increased post-study work permits are yet to be announced.
However, it has been reported that Australia’s critical skills shortages have reached almost half a million, particularly 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.
The Australian government explained that increasing the post-study work permit for international students will strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour.
A working group will be set up to advise Australia’s Home Affairs and Education Ministers on the development of this and other relevant issues.
The working group, which will consist 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.
Jason Clare, Minister for Education, said only 16 per cent of international students stay in Australia after completing their studies.
He said allowing international students to stay longer will let them use the skills they gained in Australia to help fill the workforce shortages across the country.
Clare O’Neil, Minister for Home Affairs, said the pandemic heavily impacted Australia’s international education industry.
She also said 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 was 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.
The investment will allow Australia to support 500 surge staff over the next nine months, which will significantly benefit the country’s international education sector.