International grads should stay to meet “chronic” skills shortages says Education Minister Clare

it makes sense to encourage them to stay longer”

Education Minister Jason Clare wants to increase the number of international students who stay to work in Australia after completing a degree. “We train them here. We skill them up. Where we have got skill shortages – and they are chronic across the economy at the moment – it makes sense to encourage them to stay longer,” he told Sky News yesterday,

Mr Clare also raised matching international student qualifications to local skills gaps. “There’s a lot of good work we could also do in trying to match the type of courses that international students do here with skill shortages. So, at the moment, a lot of them are studying in business and commerce. We’ve got big gaps in our economy in the health care sector. If we can match that better, the benefits for Australia will be more.”

Mr Clare also signalled he will raise increasing the number of Indian students in Australia in ministerial talks this month.

The minister was commenting following a 24 per cent drop in Chinese students commencing  with Australian universities in the first quarter, which he attributed to China’s “Covid zero” policy.

“There are local lockdowns in China that make it difficult for Chinese students to fly out here if they want to. Limited flights … you see not just a drop in Chinese students coming to Australia, but the same drop for the UK and the US.”

Dirk Mulder reports in CMM that Chinese student commencements in March were 28  per cent down on 2021 and 50 per cent on 2019. (Remembering that in 2021 students studying remotely from their home country could be issued visas) (CMM June 16).