Australia To Extend Visas And Relax Work Restrictions On International Students

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The Australian Government is seeking to extend visas and relax work restrictions on international students after they finish their studies in Australia so that they stay longer and work there.

This came about as a result of consultations at the Jobs and Skills Summit recently. The summit brought Australians together to agree on immediate actions to help build a stronger economy and a stronger Australia.

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The government, employers, unions, and the broader community agreed to take forward initiatives to help build a bigger, better-trained, and more productive workforce, boost real wages and living standards and create more opportunities for more Australians.

The Jobs and Skills Summit outcomes document can be viewed in full at

If you’re a foreigner wondering if you should consider studying in Australia, you better take the move because it’ll benefit you soon after your graduation.

This comes as international students are flooding back to Australian universities. Some predictions say 2023 could even see record numbers of overseas students in the country.

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This is not only good news for universities but potentially good news for Australian employers. Part of the Albanese government’s plan to boost skills in Australia is to try and ensure more students stay longer after they graduate and join the workforce.

Education Minister Jason Clare recently announced those with a bachelor’s degree could stay for four years, up from two, to “strengthen the pipeline of skilled labor”, particularly likely to include graduates in healthcare, teaching, hospitality, and accounting.

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Why some students won’t benefit from this new law?

But the government’s simple policy change is not enough. It assumes graduates will be able to get jobs in the areas they studied. There are four key reasons why getting more skilled international graduates into jobs needs more than just a visa extension.

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Employers are hesitant

A 2020 University report found employers were hesitant to hire international graduates on temporary visas. Other research also shows employers favor those with permanent residency because they see them as more likely to stay in Australia, and worth the investment in recruiting and training.

Research has also found employers think international graduates will be more expensive to hire, and they would require more on-the-job training to be able to understand Australian workplace cultures.

Sometimes employers think international graduates are not considered to be a good “cultural fit”. While cultural fit is a consideration when hiring, there is a real danger some employers are using this reason to discriminate against international graduates for no other reason other than their ethnic background.

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Not all graduates secure a job

Up to one-third of international graduates who stay in Australia, post-study are still unemployed six months after graduating. This is the case even with historically low unemployment rates.

Full-time employment rates for international graduates are also consistently lower than for domestic graduates. For example, in 2021, the full-time employment rate for international graduates with an undergraduate degree was 43.0% compared with 68.9% for domestic graduates.

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Many international students are self-funded and report feeling stressed and under pressure to financially support themselves and their families due to the increased cost of living.

Available jobs pay less

Finding well-paying employment in occupations related to a student’s field of study also takes time.

Many students and graduates report they are taking jobs that are not related to what they have studied, often for low wages.

Studies also show that even if international students with an undergraduate degree find full-time employment, they earn 20% less than domestic graduates.

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