Dirk Mulder points to policy change at the immigration-international ed interface


The pandemic has created an opportunity for permanent reform

It appears policy reform is now firmly on the agenda, on the back of the announcement of work and stay changes for international students with jobs in hospitality and tourism.

Last month the Commonwealth announced (CMM May 10) the 40 hour per fortnight cap on work will be lifted and that tourism and hospitality will be included under 408 COVID-19 Pandemic Event Visa, which is valid for 12 months and may be renewable.

The announcements surprised the education sector with peak bodies seeking an urgent meeting with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke for clarification on how the new visa arrangement will impact education providers with international students (CMM May 11).

The combined international education peak bodies roundtable, plus state and territory officials met with Mr Hawke, Friday.

Roundtable chair and CEO of the International Education Association of Australia Phil Honeywood, says the meeting discussed the opportunity the pandemic provides for major policy reform, to be designed to meet competitor nation policy initiatives and provide more transparent and equitable outcomes for International students.

Peak body CEOs will now put detailed reforms to the Immigration Minster. Core issues include

*  post study work rights

* professional year programmes

* minimum periods spent studying with a principal education provider

International education observers suggest this is a big opportunity for change the industry needs, but warns that reforms will need to be well-designed and carefully implemented.  “There are enough consequences for getting things wrong where international education and immigration intersect,” one says.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM