Although a welcome move for the industry and businesses, as it freed up tens of thousands of international students to be able to work an endless number of hours, last year’s policy change had gotten many in the international education fraternity, quite concerned.
Stakeholders feared it could seriously compromise the students’ focus away from their studies and thereby result in below par academic performances — thereby possibly impacting the overall quality of university education in the country and by that count, Australia’s reputation, as a country offering top-quality higher education.
The PIE reported earlier this year that uncapping of work hours for international students could have serious long-term implications for the higher education sector in the country, with many stakeholders feeling that this would draw the focus of students away from studies, their core objective, towards doing more paid work.
“The number of hours will be revised”
In order to address some of these concerns, the federal government announced its decision to put the limit back on, in relation to the maximum number of hours that international students were allowed to work.
“From July 2023, the number of working hours for international students will be capped again. The number of hours will be revised with a view to finding the right balance between work and study,” a statement from the Australian government said.
Until that point, international students will still be able to work more than 40 hours a fortnight in any sector of the economy.
Australia had last month announced that it was extending post study work rights for international graduates, as a measure towards managing the skills shortages.
“At the moment, only 16% of international students stay on after their studies end,” Jason Clare, Australia’s Minister for Education had said, at the time of the announcement of extending of post study work rights by the government.
“This will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now.”
Australia’s chambers of commerce, at the national, state, as well as territory levels, came together to back the government’s announcement of post study work rights extension for international graduates, earlier this week, in what is being seen as a major endorsement for the move.
However, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has proposed a three-point plan to enhance the country’s “international student market competitiveness and strengthening the pipeline of skilled labour”.