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THE education export industry has to find a new way to prosper now that the government has made it harder for would-be migrants to use study as a route to permanent residency, social researcher Bob Birrell says.

In the Monash University journal People and Place, Dr Birrell said the industry, whose phenomenal growth had been helped by foreign students seeking permanent residency as skilled migrants, had reached a crossroads.

Dr Birrell is co-director of Monash’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, People and Place’s publisher.

He said a change to the skilled migration rules in December last year, coupled with other reforms, would put permanent residency beyond the reach of many former overseas students with poor English, little work experience and low-value qualifications in hospitality and cooking.

“Those providers who have built their business around marketing a credential that will lead to permanent residence must refocus their business,” he said. “They need to sell credentials that overseas students believe they can take back to their country of origin with profit.”

But Dennis Murray, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, said the new rules would have little effect on universities although they would cut growth in hospitality courses. “We don’t see a wholesale collapse of the industry, which is what Bob would like to see,” he said.

Dr Birrell argued the appeal of permanent residency and lax rules for skilled migration delivered strong growth in business and information technology courses at universities in the early 2000s and even more dramatic growth since 2005 in hospitality, cooking and hairdressing courses at private colleges and TAFE institutes.

But the education business had come to distort the migration program, producing graduates ill-equipped or uninterested in the jobs they were supposedly trained for. Dr Birrell said the government took a stand, culminating in the tough new rules of December last year, but the surge in student numbers had carried through into the first few months of this year, for which there was official data.

“My expectation would be that the enrolments in the hospitality area will decline significantly once the message gets back via the recruitment network to the countries of origin,” he said.

Dr Birrell said higher education also would lose fee income because graduates in accounting, a field that had enjoyed strong growth, had to have better English or take on an extra year of professional training.

But he said the government needed to back its tough policy changes with a clearer message to the industry. Instead, it had allowed more than 40,000 former students to stay on temporary and bridging visas, even though most had little chance of securing permanent residency. Most had taken up temporary visas created to soften the blow of September 2007 reforms aimed at the poor English and poor employment prospects of former students.

Dr Birrell said another, sizeable group had found a loophole. In the year to May the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had allowed 15,417 former students to apply for permanent residency as skilled migrants, despite their lacking occupations on the tough new critical skills list ushered in last December. The department had put off the processing of applications by those lacking critical skills, meaning these students remained on bridging visas.

The department’s decision to accept these applications, and the $2105 fee, was “contentious and unwise” because it suggested these students eventually might win permanent residency despite not meeting the tight new rules.

“I think there’s something of a battle going on within government as to which should be given priority: the maintenance of the (overseas student) industry on the one hand and dealing with the immigration problems generated by it on the other,” Dr Birrell said.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the government was pursuing a more carefully targeted migration program, given the difficult economic times.

“Australia is giving priority to those people sponsored by employers or on the critical skills list, thus ensuring the nation gets people with the skills the economy and employers need,” he said.

Source  :  www.theaustralian.news.com.au

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I ended up being a bit under the weather last week so the blog post from last week is now this weeks blog post.

While I was off work recuperating, I started thinking again about our very first blog post which looked at the most popular location for graduate jobs in Australia. Our very first blog post was about how Melbourne was the most attractive city for graduate job hunters and re-reading it over the week got me thinking about how ready Australian graduates are to relocate for their first graduate job on leaving university.

From that first blog post we found that 55% of graduate job hunters were interested in Melbourne as a place to take up their first graduate position. This fact gets even more interesting when you consider that only 30% of the visitors to our site were actually based in Melbourne to begin with.

Relocate? Sure why not

Relocate? Sure why not

To take things a step further I thought it would be interesting to have a look at how many graduates were interested in relocating to multiple cities after they had finished up at university, so as you do when you’re sick, I ended up sitting down and hitting our database to see how many graduates were interested in relocating to secure their first graduate job and the results were as follows:

Relocation Locations % of Graduate Respondents
3 39.5%
2 16.5%
1 44%

The Breakdown

This is an interesting insight into the attitude of graduates as they are searching for their first graduate job as it shows 3 distinct mindsets.

Firstly there are the 44% of grads who only want to work in one location after they finish their university studies. My thinking on this is that these graduates either want to work and live in their home town or the town they have relocated to for university.

The next group which accounts for 16% of graduates are interested in moving to 2 locations. I think this shows that these graduates have relocated for university and would want to either stay where they are studying or return to their home town.

The remaining 39% of graduates are out to work in 3 or more locations after they finish studying which shows that a large proportion of graduates coming out of university in Australia are very flexible and are keen to do whatever it takes to find a good opportunity. I think this is the group I would have fallen into when I finished studying at university as I was keen to move anywhere  I could secure an opportunity, I even considered going to Norway at one point.

Summing Up

So it seems that the majority of Australian graduates, 56% to be precise, are motivated to relocate once they finish studying which is a good sign for locations such as Western Australia, Queensland and Canberra as these centres do have a high demand for graduates but don’t’ have the largest numbers of graduates studying there compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

Source  :  http://www.gradconnection.com.au/blog/goverment-graduate-recruitment/australian-graduates-ready-to-relocate-for-graduate-jobs.html

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