It’s time to review post study work arrangements in Australia as the US Senate considers a proposal to extend post-study work rights in the US to up to six years for science-based international students. If the Senate approves the proposal, then Australia’s ability to attract quality students could be devastated, according to a report in The Australian.
International student numbers are at a high in Australia with the low Australian dollar and the streamlined visa processing system. But post study work arrangements for students remain limited and could become a key difference to students shopping for an overseas education.
If approved, the US plans would allow students with science, technology, engineering and maths degrees to stay in the US for three years if they hold a bachelors degree and another three years if they have a postgraduate qualification.
“If this policy takes off, it will seriously hinder and even undermine Australia’s capacity to recruit good quality student,” Phil Honeywood, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia told The Australian.
“Every time Australia thinks it’s hit the sweet spot on international education enrolments something unexpected seems to happen. No one would have thought the sleeping giant of the (US) market would have awakened so quickly to its potential.”
Speaking to The Australian, Mr Rahul Gandhi, an education consultant based in Ahmedabad, India, said such a change would dramatically change the flow if Indian students.
“The Indian (student) market is driven by the post-study work opportunities in the destination country. For an Indian family an overseas degree is a huge investment. There are many who mortgage their homes and take out a loan from the bank to send their kids overseas. Hence, return on investment does matter and post-study work is indeed the driving force for taking a decision to study in that country.
“Within six years the student can easily recover that investment in education and will also have suitable work experience to venture on their own back in their home country or to apply for residency (in) an overseas country.”
Mr Gandhi said about 225,000 Indians went overseas each year for study, with 85,000 going to the US and 30,000 to Australia.
“This proposal … will certainly give the American university an edge in recruiting students from India,” he said.
Source: Migration Alliance