Beginning July 2023, all PhD programs and more than 400 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs will be eligible for the augmented Temporary Graduate Work visa (subclass 485). Graduates whose visas expire prior to 1 July 2023 may apply for an extension of their work authorization by attending COVID-19 Pandemic event-endorsed Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) events.
Australia has recently announced an extension of two years for post-study work visas for international students who have completed their undergraduate studies, granting them a total of four years post-study stay and work option in the country. Meanwhile, graduates for Masters and PhD programs can apply for an extension of three and four years post-study visa, respectively.
To supplement these extensions, international students with degrees related to labour skill shortages in labour and construction, retail management, software technology, and healthcare professions can work for a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight. The goal is to achieve a compromise between giving international students the opportunity to complete their studies and give them the means to support themselves financially.
The new policy is a significant change from the previous post-study work visa scheme, which only allowed international students to stay and work in Australia for up to two years after graduation.
This extension will benefit both international students and the Australian economy. International students will have more time to gain valuable work experience in their chosen field, which can enhance their career prospects and contribute to their personal development.
As Times Higher Education in Australia, Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Catriona Jackson highlights: “The current skills crisis highlights the urgent need to retain more of these students, when and where there is a clear need for their skills, to complement our homegrown workforce and spur productivity and economic growth. The decision to extend working rights for PhD students, in particular, will provide a significant boost to the development of Australia’s knowledge economy.”
International students contribute to the growth of various industries in the country. By allowing international students to stay and work for a longer period, the government hopes to attract more international students to study in Australia and retain talented individuals in the workforce.
“Businesses are screaming out for skilled workers, particularly in the regions. We have got the second highest skills shortage in the developed world, according to the OECD. Skills shortages are everywhere. We teach and train these skilled workers. This will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now. As well as delivering the skills and qualifications Australia needs, the measure will make Australia more attractive as a study destination, helping the recovery of the international education sector and boosting earnings from Australia’s education exports.” Said Education Minister Jason Clare, reflecting on the new post-study rights and working caps for certain degrees.
The Indian education association received the announcement warmly. Mr Ravi Lochan Singh, president of the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI), declares that Australia now has the “best post-study work offerings” compared to Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, or New Zealand.
Mr Singhh adds, “Enabling students that gain an education in Australia to stay longer and contribute to our economy benefits us all. After a lost decade on immigration and skills we are looking for ways to utilise skilled migrants via enhanced training and better targeted, less exploitative programs for temporary visa workers and students. This work is being undertaken as we work towards the conclusion of the migration review and continue to reform our broken migration and skills system.”
The extension of the post-study work visa scheme is a positive step towards supporting international students and strengthening the Australian economy. It provides international students with more opportunities to gain valuable work experience while also contributing to the growth of various industries in the country.