According to data collected in 2018, more than one lakh Indian students have enrolled themselves for Australian education, which means 12.4 per cent of total international enrolment, There was a rise of 24.5 per cent over the previous calendar. China continues to top the list with 2.56 lakh students.

For international students, Australia has announced an ‘Additional Temporary Graduate’ visa with an extra year of post-study work rights for international students who graduate from the regional campus of a registered university. Students who pursue their bachelor’s or master’s degree from Australia gets a two-year post-study work visa.

This ‘additional temporary graduate’ visa for Australia to international students helps Australia in overall planning to decongest popular areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. This also attracts more international students.

An interesting thing to look upon is that for qualifying the ‘Additional Temporary Graduate’ visa, the student must be graduated from a regional campus and along with that append at least 2 years residing in the local area. Australia’s department of home affairs has stated that the first cohort of ‘Additional Temporary Graduate’ visa will initiate from 2021 onwards. For students who are currently holding the Temporary Graduate visa, which is the existing post-study work visa, ongoing residence in a regional area could qualify them for an additional year.

On March 20, PM Scott Morrison announced new tertiary scholarships to attract more Australian and international students to study in regional Australia. Scholarships worth Australian $15,000, will be available to more than 1,000 local and international students each year.

Zahirah Ismail, Perth-based managing director at the immigration service company Home of Visas, told TOI: “An additional year for graduates shows that policy-makers are acknowledging the difficulties faced by students as they attempt to gain relevant work experience. In several occupations, in order for an applicant to gain positive skills assessment, they are required to demonstrate at least three years of relevant work experience post their qualification.” She recommends that international students should look at employment prospects for each territory and best match this data against occupation lists for migration purposes.

Andrew Everett, deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president, global strategy, at Charles Darwin University, said: “CDU is examining how best to provide for international students who might qualify for an Additional Temporary Graduate visa.” Spread over various campuses, including regional campuses, 10% of CDU’s 20,000 students are of foreign origin, the majority of them from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and China.

Several students also want to put down roots and work long term in the host country. In this context, Cyrus Mistry, director at EasyMigrate Consultancy Services, told TOI: “Introduction of new Regional (Provisional) visas, which provide an option of conversion to permanent residency after a tenure of three years, could also be attractive to international students, provided they are willing to settle in regional areas.”

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