It might be easier for international students to get an Australian work visa if a proposal by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne pulls through.
According to The Age, Sally Capp is lobbying for international students who complete a bachelor’s degree or above to have automatic access to a four-year visa.
Under the plan, graduates who maintain work over four years would then have a clear pathway to permanent residency. Capp will reportedly outline the proposal in a speech to the Melbourne Press Club today.
In Capp’s speech, seen by The Age, she will say “drastic and brave” action such as her international student plan is required amid federal Treasury projections that tens of thousands of Victorians will depart for other states over the next three years.
“It will help to make Australia a more attractive and conducive destination for students and allow us to retain smart and globally connected talent and address current labour and skills shortages,” the speech says.
Wooing more students with an Australian work visa
Department of Home Affairs data shows some 72,000 post-study work visa applications were lodged in 2020-21, compared with about 37,000 so far this financial year.
The number of students in Victoria has risen from a low of 68,400 in December to about 100,000. According to the report, students contribute 1.15 Australian billion dollars to the state economy for every dollar spent on tuition fees in what was a A$13.7 billion industry in 2019.
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s by coursework can apply for a two-year Australian work visa under the current federal government framework. Those with a master’s by research and doctoral degree can request three and four years respectively.
Capp says Melbourne will lobby the next federal government “in lockstep” with the think tank Committee for Sydney on helping international students enter the workforce, said the portal.