02 October 2008

Four out of five overseas students in Aus say degree relevant to their job

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According to new research, around 80 per cent of international students who studied in Australia feel that their degree is relevant to their post-graduate occupation. The research, run by IDP, found that the key skills shortage areas of information technology, finance and accounting, education, health, engineering and technology were being filled by overseas students studying in those sectors at university.

The research surveyed 1940 students in Australian Technology Network universities nationwide, reports Australian IT.  According to Melissa Banks, an IDP researcher, the results are vastly different from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s (DIAC) findings last year, which showed that only 46 per cent of international students often used knowledge learnt in their degree in their job, and a quarter used it rarely.

In comparison, IDP’s research showed that only 8-9 per cent of foreigners who were on an Australian student visa and who now have permanent residency find their degree is not relevant to their current occupation.

"For respondents living in Australia, 14 per cent were working in the IT industry, 13 per cent in banking, finance and accounting, 10 per cent in education and training, 10 per cent in health and 7 per cent in engineering and technology," Ms Banks said.

Ms Banks also said that although Australia provides a world-class international student program, the government needs to start improving the integration of international students into the Australian workforce.

"Australia has world's best practice on international education," she said. "We have the best recruiting strategies and ethics, excellent quality assurance, excellent data and reporting, and now we have the opportunity for ensuring Australia's future labour market demands are met by better mediating the transition from overseas student to Australian worker."

The IDP research also found that more students from India and China were granted a post-study visa for Australia than any other nation.

In related news, as a result of a review into the Australian student visa program, the Government has made legislative changes to the Assessment Levels (ALs), which student visa applications are assessed against. 

This means that the Assessment Levels (ALs) in 43 countries have been amended.  All applications for a student visa from nationals in these countries are now subject to these amendments.  All applications which were already being processed before the 01 September 2008 will not be affected by the changes.

As part of the changes, the immigration risk of more than half of the 43 countries has been lowered to Assessment Level 1, including China, Brazil, Botswana, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand, meaning they now have to provide the lowest level of evidence to support their student visa application. 

In the year 2007-08, the number of international students enrolled in Australia increased by 22 per cent on the previous year to 228,000 visas granted. 

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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