Many overseas students choose to study in Australia with the intention of obtaining permanent residency, however, a recent analysis from a think tank suggests that fewer temporary skilled visa holders transfer to a permanent visa.
According to a Grattan Institute expert, international students in Australia are finding it more difficult to obtain a permanent visa than in past years. Prior to the border closures, there were more overseas students in Australia than ever before, according to Grattan Institute Deputy Programme Director for Migration Henry Sherrell. However, the number of permanent skilled visas available was decreasing.
“This shows that obtaining a permanent visa for international students was more difficult than in the past,” he said, adding that this tendency could be seen in the decade preceding the border restrictions.
The survey, titled “Migrants in the Australian Workforce,” discovered that historically, one in every three Australian workers was born overseas, and one in every five has a temporary or permanent visa. The survey also indicated that international students who came to Australia on a student visa less than five years ago are still likely to be on the same visa.
The low number of permanent visas granted to temporary skilled visa workers has been aggravated by more severe and restricted routes placed on many occupations in Australia, making it difficult for international graduates to gain permanent residency in Australia. According to the research, 86 percent of employer-nominated visas are awarded to persons who are already in Australia, as are 90 percent of “Skilled Independent” permanent visas.
Business investment defies this trend, with 89 percent of applications going to people outside of Australia. Only one in every four migrants who came to Australia between five and ten years ago progressed to permanent residency, into the skilled independent, state-nominated, or family visa categories.
Despite having higher levels of education and experience, the survey found that migrants in Australia are earning less than their local counterparts, compared to a decade earlier. When they arrive, over half of the migrants have a bachelor’s degree or postgraduate education, and many continue their education in Australia by gaining university-level certificates. A quarter of recent migrants have a postgraduate qualification, compared to less than one in ten domestic employees who have the same qualification.
For overseas students like Mishween Kaur, the current situation in which better qualifications do not correlate with increased earnings is a concerning trend.
“I need to plan my future in order to enhance my chances of obtaining permanent residency.” “I know a lot of people are waiting for their residency right now,” said Kaur, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Business degree (in Logistics and Supply Chain).
“I also need five years of managing experience to acquire the PR, which is quite challenging,” she was cited by SBS Hindi as adding.
Migrants are critical drivers of Australia’s economic prosperity. The authors of the research stated that it aims to bridge a “knowledge gap” about the role migrants play in Australia’s labour market so that policymakers may better strategies to maximise the economic benefits of migration to Australians.
Sally Capp, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, recently proposed lobbying international students in Australia to stay in Australia after graduation by obtaining a work visa that allows them to stay for four years.
Graduates who work for four years would have a clear path to permanent residency under this idea.
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