Universities Australia welcomes the strong support from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for international students in its latest policy paper ‘Migration works for all of us’.
The Australian Chamber says international education is a “major export earner and job generator” and the growth in international students choosing Australia should be “cause for celebration”.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson thanked the key business group for its clear message of support for visa policies that continue to attract international students.
“The nurturing of this export sector over six decades is a great Australian success story – and as the Australian Chamber notes, it supports 240,000 jobs in our growing services economy,” Ms Jackson said.
“Educating international students also builds a powerful network of people around the world with a deep affection for Australia, which helps open doors for our country in the years ahead,” she said.
The paper notes that 85 per cent of international students return home after their studies.
Of the 15 per cent who apply to stay and become permanent migrants, it highlights that “they are then subject to the same cap that puts a limit on all permanent migration.”
The Australian Chamber report also notes that: “If they do transition, this is a benefit to Australia – we have not had to fund their education and yet we benefit from the skills they have, in part, acquired here.”
“We congratulate the Australian Chamber and its members on this valuable piece of work and for their commitment to a great Australian sector that supports local jobs and incomes,” Ms Jackson said.
The report also makes a clear case that the answer to congestion challenges in major capital cities is not to cap the number of people on temporary visas – but to build better infrastructure.
“Suggesting that there should be limits on international student numbers while we play infrastructure catch up is like asking manufacturers and farmers to reduce their exports because it places too much pressure on ports and roads,” it states.