International Education – No Migration – No Hope – No Market
The Australian international education market has reported high growth over the past year with a market now worth A$22 billion. Things must be too good – the sleeper is the work visa changes posted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for March 2018. There are anecdotal signs that international students are pulling out of some courses or looking to alternative destinations.
Insecurity created by government for Australian business and visa applicants alike leads to insecurity about Australia generally as a study destination. We are living in a global economy. Australia is not the only country in the world that skilled migrants look to, not only to study, but to settle permanently or even temporarily for a few years, but with the security of knowing that they can remain permanently if they fulfill the criteria. The reality is that there is a strong link between education and immigration outcomes whether or not the Australian government likes to acknowledge the fact. Yes, there have been significant rorts in the 457 visa program in the last decade and beyond, and certainly, there is justification for changes that have been brought about recently to immigration policy in delineating temporary and permanent visa pathways.
However, amongst many of the international student cohort, lie a great number of skilled migrants and potential entrepreneurs who will bring creativity and much-needed vision to this country.
Changes need to be better handled and presented on the world stage, to avoid a future decline in the number of student enrolments from offshore owing to uncertainty as to what the Australian government will do next. Let us not permit nationalist fervor to negatively affect a market that has been re-energised and reinvigorated after several years of uncertainty and visa change.
Leading migration agent, Melanie Macfarlane, will be speaking on this topic at the Symposium on Leading Education Recruitment SYMPLED 2017 in Sydney 18th September 2017.