Rizky Pratama, southeast Asia country coordinator at Macquarie University, described it as “exciting”, while Noida Ritika Gupta, owner of Planet Education, said it was a “great opportunity for students looking for overseas education”.
Similarly, Youngeun Song, principal executive officer at Australian Pacific College said the policy change was “truly fantastic” and Australia’s Council of International Students said it was “incredibly satisfied” with the decision, having fed directly into government talks.
“The government’s effort ensure international students are involved in talks surrounding their circumstances, by allowing them to bring their lived experiences to meetings such as these is will [sic] continue to facilitate a united relationship between the providers of Australia’s high quality education and international students,” the group wrote on LinkedIn.
Independent Higher Education Australia also welcomed the changes, with CEO Peter Hendy saying these would “help rebuild Australia’s international education sector and ease skills shortages”.
“Many Nigerian students are already in those fields”
Sandhi Pitaka, an international student recruitment specialist, said Indonesian students would view the decision as “wonderful news”.
“In my opinion it will encourage more students especially Indonesian students to consider continuing their study to Australia,” Pitaka said.
“However, as I am also responsible to promote other destinations, I have to also inform students and also my partner education agents that other destinations such as Canada and UK also offer similar benefit.”
Emmanuel George, AECC Nigeria country manager, told The PIE the list of courses – which includes health, technology, education and construction programs – would “definitely attract students” from Nigeria.
“Many Nigerian students are already in those fields and this would encourage them to pursue an advanced certification that would surely lead to career advancement,” he said.
Consultancy company StudyMove calculated that around 45% of international enrolments are eligible for the discipline areas. The Department of Education is set to release a specific list of eligible programs linked to course codes before the policy comes into practice in July.
Outside of Australia, Vivienne Stern, CEO of Universities UK, said the decision was an “explicit response to UK and Canadian success in attracting international students”.
“Meanwhile our govt seriously considering restrictions to Grad route. Daft,” Stern wrote on Twitter.
Professionals from the sector also commented on the decision to increase the number of hours that international students are permitted to work.
Phil Honeywood, executive director at the International Education Association of Australia, told AFR the work-hour cap “hits the balance between the need to encourage international students to choose Australia over increasingly competitive countries”.
“The challenge now is how to effectively invite students to come to Australia for up to a decade, include study and post-study work, and make it worth their time. The challenge is to ensure we have transparent migration pathways to permanent residency,” he said.