Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the announcement reinforced the importance of universities to delivering the skilled workforce Australia depends on.
“We congratulate the Albanese Government for its strong leadership and solutions-driven approach to delivering a more productive workforce,” Ms Jackson said.
“More than half of the one million jobs expected to be created in the next five years will require a university degree.
“Australia’s world-class universities attract thousands of international students each year, yet only 16 per cent stay on after their studies. Australia is worse off for this brain drain.
“It’s critical that we develop the skills of Australian students to maintain a homegrown pipeline of talent.
“But at the same time, extending post-study work rights sends the right signal to international students who want to use their Australian education in Australia’s regions and cities, when and where there is a clear need for their skills.
“Allowing more international students to remain in Australia could see thousands more nurses and doctors working in hospitals from Geelong to Geraldton and Cooma to Cairns.
“That is not to mention the skills gaps international students will plug across our engineering, information technology, and teaching sectors.
“This is a practical measure that we called for in the lead up to the Jobs and Skills Summit.
“We are pleased to be part of the Government’s working group to advise the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Education on the development and implementation of this initiative and other relevant issues.”
Universities Australia also welcomes the Government’s funding commitment to fast-track visa processing, and the decision to lift the annual migration intake.
“A skilled labour market is a productive labour market, and a productive labour market drives economic growth and a higher standard of living for all Australians,” Ms Jackson said.