A further 50,000 students arrived in Australia in August – almost 8,000 more than in the same period last year – according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said Australia would benefit from more graduates remaining in Australia to plug skills gaps and drive our economic growth.
“Students from over 140 countries continue to choose Australia for the world-class education they receive at our universities, yet so few remain here beyond their studies,” Ms Jackson said.
“Only 28 per cent of these students use their post-study work rights in Australia and just 16 per cent become permanent residents.
“Our current visa system deters rather than encourages these talented people to stay and use their Australian education in the area they have studied.
“The Albanese Government’s new migration strategy can and should address this.
“We have skill shortages right across the economy that can’t be fixed with a homegrown workforce alone, which is why we need to do more to retain the skills and talents of international graduates.
“If there is a clear need for these skilled and knowledgeable migrants who have already invested in Australia, why shouldn’t our system encourage them to stay?
“The countries with which we compete for talent are well ahead of us in this regard.
“International students play a key role in our skills mix and complement our homegrown workforce, contributing significantly to our economy and strengthening the communities they join.
“Australia’s new migration strategy is a chance to reset our visa rules to attract and retain more of the skilled people our nation needs. The government can’t let it go to waste.”