Australia Favors Int'l Students More Than Australians, Report Claims

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 13, 2022

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Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), an advocacy group focused on the environment and quality of life in Australia, has voiced concerns over university training in Australia and called for a review of the issue, following the publication of a report by the Australian Population Research Institute.

In a media release, the organization notes that the report “The Skills Crisis, University Culpability and the Overseas Student Industry” highlights there is injustice in the number of training places allocated to Australian students and international ones, Erudera.com reports.

Data indicate that in 2020, about 40 percent of training places were offered to graduates, including international students and Australians, an increase from 38 percent in 2012.

According to the report by Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy, in 2020, nearly half of international students in Australia were completing studies in the field of Management and Commerce. The number of international students graduating in this field (70,219) surpassed the number of domestic graduates (or 51,971).

Other key fields highlighted in the report where the number of places offered to international students compared to local students is increasing more include IT, engineering, and nursing.

The SPA National President, Jenny Goldie, said that the concept of “fairness,” which according to him is wrong, is reducing the opportunities provided to domestic students in the abovementioned fields, which he described as crucial.

“Clearly the federal government is more concerned about revenue than providing the skills that Australia needs. Total revenue from overseas students was $9.2bn, or 27 per cent of all university revenue across Australia. In some cases it was higher, for instance, more than a third of RMIT’s revenue came from foreign students,” Goldie said.

Australia has been facing a nursing shortage in recent years, thus federal governments have offered scholarships to domestic students. However, the report shows the number of commencements of domestic students in nursing increased by 37.8 percent between 2015 and 2020, from 9,589 to 14,736, respectively. On the other hand, the number of international commencements increased by 53.7 percent over the same period.

The same report points out that the number of domestic students graduating in IT from Australian universities in 2020 was 4,750 domestic undergraduates.

“This is a tiny number compared with industry claims about Australia’s needs. Australia’s leading software provider, Atlassian, has indicated that it alone intends to recruit 1000 additional software engineers in the next 12 months,” the report states.

Goldie said international students will contribute to the government’s “undemocratic 235,000 target for net migration” and that student visa scams will continue to be a problem for the government.

According to her, Australian universities should halve the number of international students, and the latter should return to their home countries before applying for a job in Australia.

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