Changes to 485 visa make it easier for students to stay

Apr 1, 2013 by

Source: World News Australia

Under new rules, foreign students who graduate with an Australian bachelor’s degree, masters or doctorate can work for up to four years in Australia upon completion.

International students have greater chances to find employment under the federal government’s changes to the 485 Temporary Graduate visa.

Under the changes to visa subclass 485, which took effect on March 28, foreign students who graduated with an Australian bachelor’s degree, masters or doctorate, can obtain a visa to remain and work in Australia for between two and four years, depending on their degree  — a significant increase on the previous limit of 18 months.

In an already competitive job market, the incentive is to lure high quality overseas students to study in Australia.

“Technically, it’s now much easier for international students to stay in Australia,” said Danny Ong, Multicultural Employment Consultant at Monash University. “But the main concern is that there is now a bigger group of international students competing for work opportunities”.

Remaining in Australia can be a gamble.

“This is a question that international students need to ask: it’s whether I can get a job,” Mr Ong said.

For international students, tuition fees could cost up to $30,000 per year, paid up-front, and application fees can cost almost $2,000.

“A lot of students find it very difficult to deal with parental expectations,” said Mr Ong. And this is affecting the quality of the international student experience.

“They tend to make an association between money and the quality of education. And that influences their interaction with the university,” he said.

Lyndal Partington, careers consultant at the University of NSW, says it is important to learn skills away from the classroom for a holistic education.

“It’s important to help them [international students] develop communication skills, team work skills — soft skills employers look for in graduates,” she said.

“One of the challenges is that they don’t have local work-experience and it’s hard to get their foot in the door. And another challenge is the difference in workplace culture between Australia and their home country,” said Ms Partington.

Under the 485 Temporary Graduate Visa, students can obtain a two-year work visa if they studied in Australia for at least 16 months and have completed either a bachelor’s degree or a masters by course work. Students who completed a masters by research can qualify for a three-year visa, while those who completed a doctorate get four years.