“Australia is a great multicultural nation, and we need a migration system that acknowledges the past and future benefits of that,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“We support the government’s focus on streamlining the system and adding flexibility to ensure it is fit for purpose and can meet Australia’s skills and economic needs in the coming decades.
“Importantly, the strategy acknowledges how vital international education is to the economy and Australia’s prosperity. It makes us tens of billions of dollars each year, supports tens of thousands of jobs and helps pay for the essential services all Australians rely on.
“We welcome further measures to preserve the integrity and strength of the education system while protecting students from unscrupulous operators seeking to exploit them for personal gain.
“We also applaud the government’s steps to simplify graduate visas to improve the applicant experience and give both graduates and employers more confidence in their ongoing work rights.
“Universities Australia has called for a genuine student test to replace the genuine temporary entrant requirement and we are pleased government has accepted this recommendation. This will ensure we are getting the right people with genuine ambitions to attend university in Australia.
“The creation of new visa streams to attract researchers to our universities and keep more international graduates in Australia is also a good thing.
“The skilled people who come to work and study at our world-class institutions make an enormous economic and social contribution. We must continue to attract them for mutual benefit.
“Any changes, now or in the future, that restrict the movement of genuine students to our shores need to be weighed carefully against the significant benefits they bring, during and after their studies.
“Universities Australia has engaged deeply with government on the development of the migration strategy and will continue to do so through its implementation as we all work toward a better migration system that underpins a flourishing multicultural nation.”