A way to woo international students

Even when the border opens they will want reasons to cross it

Ly Thi Tran (Deakin U) has long set-out what international students need (CMM July 3 2019). In new research with Deakin U colleagues Huong Le Thanh Phan and Mark Rahimi, plus George Tan (Charles Darwin U) she now sets out how their post-graduation employment experience can make, or not, the case for investing in Australian study.

A basic problem is that the post-graduation 485 visa, which international students use to build career foundations has multiple meanings. “From the policy viewpoint, the 485 visa is a legitimate symbolic capital – a recognition of graduates’ legal entitlement to work. It was, however, positioned by employers as a source of uncertainty and risks. For graduates, this capital meant opportunities to realise their occupational hopes and dreams,” Professor Tran and colleagues write.

As it exists, the visa also does not allow international graduates enough time to establish themselves with employers and build demonstrable workforce skills.

But students adjust. Some with migration on their minds choose in-demand courses and do what career-focused young people always do, find part-time jobs, take on projects and internships that shine on resumes.

This is where Professor Tran and the other authors think governments can assist, by working “with universities to help international students develop a continuing portfolio from the time they begin their undergraduate journey through to the temporary graduate visa stage.”

And policy makers, public service agencies and professional organisations can do more; “to better educate and inform employers of the nature of the temporary graduate visa.”

As for higher education providers, “which rely on the temporary graduate visa to attract international students and have the responsibility to support their graduates’ employability and employment outcomes,” they “should be more active in promoting the temporary graduate visa to employers as a viable employment option.”