Allowing more students access to an Australia visa will boost local economies.
24 April 2012
Australia visa rules relaxed for vocational students
The federal government has agreed to relax Australia rules for international students enrolling at educational institutions on Technical and Further Education (TAFE) courses.
During a meeting a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the federal government agreed that relaxing the Australia visa restrictions would provide an extra lift to state and territorial economies.
TAFE courses are predominantly vocational courses in industries such as business and finance as well as tourism and hospitality, construction and engineering and community work.
Announcing the relaxation in New South Wales, Premier Barry O'Farrell said the change will compensate for the tightening of visa rules in 2009 which saw international student numbers in the region fall.
"International education is a AU$6 billion [£3.8 billion] industry for NSW - our second largest in terms of exports," said Mr O'Farrell
"We have the largest international education industry in Australia but in recent years it has been hit by the double whammy of visa changes and the high Australian dollar."
Mr O'Farrell said international numbers had fallen by 20% in the 2010-2011 academic year, with the country's international reputation suffering after several high profile cases of attacks on foreign students combined with a rising Australian dollar.
However, the COAG agree to introduce the new relaxations in time for the next academic year, a move which Mr O'Farrell says will re-establish Australia's competitiveness on the international stage.
"It will put us back in the game as we compete with other education markets around the world."
Mr O'Farrell's sentiments have been echoed by several colleges and universities offering TAFE courses.
"Students will find it easier to get their visas approved and this will bring TAFE in line with universities as well," said Pam Christie, deputy director general at TAFE NSW.
"It will make NSW more globally competitive with other countries that provide international education - like Canada, the US and Europe."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application with the Australian High Commission.