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Post Study Work Rights for International Students in Australia

Special Report from Study Travel Magazine:


Staying on: post–study work.  The ability to stay and work after graduation is a key consideration for many international students when choosing higher education programmes overseas. Matthew Knott examines the impact of post-study policy changes in the major destinations, the intentions of international students that seek to remain and how agents view work rights.



When the UK government removed automatic post-study work (PSW) rights for non-EU students in 2011, it heralded considerable scrutiny of comparative work rights and student destination choices. For critics, the policy is to blame for the UK’s first ever decline in higher education international student numbers.

For example, a recent House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report on international STEM students refers to a contradiction in government policy between measures to control immigration and plans to attract more students. The report cites an eight per cent decline in non-EU STEM students in 2011/12, followed by a further two per cent drop in 2012/13.

Rather than the previous two-year post study work visa, non-EU students now have just four months to find employment at a minimum salary of UK£20,300 (US$33,941) and switch to a Tier 2 General Visa. Lord Krebbs, Committee Chair, said, “Allowing just four months for a student to find work after graduation is more or less tantamount to telling overseas students they’d be better off going to study elsewhere.” The Lords report further cited an analysis of graduate STEM jobs advertised at the University of Manchester, where only 55 per cent met the minimum salary requirements….


….Global competition

While Australia’s recent return to growth in international student enrolments (see news) may be attributable to many factors, the Knight Review-led extension of post-study work rights, with up to four years available for PhD students, is clearly one. “The actual number of post-study visas has not been large, because the first eligible cohort has only just started to come through,” says Phil Honeywood, Executive Director of the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA). “But it is all about perception. The perception among agents is that students will have the ability to get course-related work, both during study and thereafter.” Indeed, Australia emerged as the most popular destination for students interested in post-study work in our agent survey. “I believe many international students, because of global unemployment challenges, see Australia as a desirable destination,” he adds.

Honeywood says another carrot for international students is that employers can sponsor an international student worker, thus providing a pathway to permanent migration, which is a powerful incentive, he says. However, a risk for vocational students in Australia aiming for the General Skilled Migration category, as highlighted recently is the fact that the Skilled Occupation List can change, with accounting currently under threat (no it stays on the SOL, too important for university revenue and projected shortages), for example…


For more information about PSW Post Study Work Rights or 485 Post Graduate Temporary Work Visa in Australia click through.


In 2015 it may be possible for selected TAFE institutes, community college or polytechnic, to use the SVP streamlined visa processing system and PSW post study work rights for Advanced Diplomas.  STudents who study a two year vocational program maybe eligible for the Job Ready Program for 18 month post graduate work visa.

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