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More difficult for int’l students in Australia to gain permanent visa: expert

Permanent residency IN Australia
More stringent requirements and restricted pathways make it harder for international students to secure a permanent residency in Australia. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Some international students opt to study abroad in Australia with the hope that they could later obtain permanent residency in Australia, but a recent report from a think-tank shows that fewer temporary skilled visa-holders transition to a permanent visa.

An expert from the Grattan Institute said it is more difficult for international students in Australia to secure a permanent visa than in previous years.

Grattan Institute Deputy Programme Director for Migration Henry Sherrell told SBS Hindi that prior to the border closures, there were more international students in Australia than ever before. Yet, there was a declining number of permanent skilled visas available.

“This suggests it was more difficult to gain a permanent visa for international students than it was in the past,” he said, adding that this trend could be seen in the decade leading up to the border closures.

The report, titled “Migrants in the Australian workforce”, found that historically, one in three workers in Australia were born overseas, and one in five holds either a temporary or permanent visa.

The report also revealed that international students who arrived in Australia less than five years ago on a student visa are still likely to hold the same visa.

More stringent, restricted pathways mean lower issuance of permanent residency in Australia?

The underwhelming issuance of permanent visas to temporary skill visa workers has been exacerbated by more stringent and restricted pathways imposed on many occupations in Australia, making it challenging for international graduates to earn permanent residency in Australia.

The report also found that 86% of employer-nominated visas were granted to people already in Australia, as were 90% of ”Skilled Independent” permanent visas.

Business investment goes against this trend, with 89% allocated to people outside of Australia at the time of application.

Only one in four migrants who arrived in Australia between five and 10 years ago transitioned to permanent residency, moving into the skilled independent, state-nominated or family visa categories.

permanent residency to australia

Despite having more experience and obtaining higher qualifications, a report by Grattan Institute reveals that migrants are earning less than their domestic graduates, compared to a decade ago. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Recent migrants are more educated and experienced, but earn less

Despite demonstrating greater levels of education and experience, the report revealed a worrying trend where migrants in Australia are earning less than their domestic counterparts, compared to what they did a decade ago.

About half of migrants have a bachelor’s degree or a postgraduate education when they arrive, and many continue their educational pursuits in Australia by earning university-level qualifications during their time in Australia.

A quarter of recent migrants have a postgraduate qualification, compared to their domestic counterparts where less than one in 10 workers hold the same qualification.

For international students such as Mishween Kaur, the present situation where higher qualifications do not positively correlate with higher pay exemplifies a worrying trend.

“I have to figure out my future as to how to increase my chances for permanent residency. I know currently so many people are waiting for their residency,” said Kaur, who is studying a Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain).

“I also need five years of managerial experience to get the PR which is again very difficult,” she was quoted saying by SBS Hindi.

Migrants drive Australia’s economic growth

Migrants play a pivotal role in driving Australia’s economic growth.

The report’s authors said it seeks to fill the “knowledge gap” about the role migrants play in Australia’s job market so policymakers can improve ways to maximise the economic benefits of migration to Australians.

Recently, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp has made a proposal to lobby international students in Australia to stay in Australia upon graduation by getting them to secure a work visa which entitles them to stay in Australia for four years.

Under this plan, graduates who maintain work over four years would have a clear pathway to permanent residency.