02 April 2009

Australian student visa program proving rock solid in economic downturn

The Australian student visa program is proving to be a steadfast income for the Australian economy during the global financial slowdown.

The Australian student visa program allows international students to study in Australia and apply for a permanent Australian visa upon completion of their studies, depending on their qualifications.  Because of the nature of the risks associated with the Australian student visa program, strict conditions are imposed the student visa holder, including not having working rights and maintaining updated residence details with the Government.

Despite the tight rein the Government keeps on student visa holders, according to an Access Economic report the Australian educational industry is reaping mass benefits from the Australian student visa program.

The report says the in the three years to 2008, the Australian export education industry grew by 42 per cent and is now the third biggest export earner in the country.  They are also reported to have added created 122,000 full-time jobs for the Australian community in 2007-2008. 

ACPET national executive officer Andrew Smith said that while the economy is feeling the effects of the recession in some industries, the educational export industry is showing positive results.

"While a number of other industries are contracting, this is one that is going from strength to strength," he said. "It is important to the Australian economy that this is recognised."

In 2007-2008, over 21,000 Australian student visa holders were granted a permanent Australian visa under various visa class applications, including employer-sponsorship, State/Territory nomination and independent skilled migration.  Having studied in Australia international students can gain valuable points towards their Australian visa application so they can secure permanent residency.

TAFE Directors Australia chief executive Martin Riordan said over 50 per cent of the few hundred thousand Australian student visa holders in Australia study at vocational institutions, which provide courses for hairdressers and chefs, for example.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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