Students from overseas like Australia so much that tens of thousands decide to stay after graduating with some getting jobs and others taking a holiday.

Their prospects are good as official figures show that university graduates in Australia are two and a half times less likely to be jobless than people with no post-school education.

International Students


The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the jobless rate for graduates dropped slightly to 3.1% in May 2017, while the jobless rate for people without a post-school qualification was unchanged at 8.2%.

According to Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson while no one is ever guaranteed employment, the data showed that having a degree significantly enhanced people's chances.

'These figures put paid to claims that dispute the value of a university qualification. It continues to be the case that graduates are less likely to be unemployed and will have higher lifetime earnings on average,' she said.

Official figures also suggest that tens of thousands of foreign students are prolonging their stay in Australia by switching visas to become tourists, partners of local residents and even asylum seekers.

Data from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) shows that in the 2016/2017 year around 200,000 students from overseas were granted new visas, including 37,759 who transferred to the temporary graduate 485 visa allowing them to stay in Australia with the right to work full time for up to two years.

A further 39,945 former student visa holders were granted tourist visas, 10,685 granted temporary skilled 457 visa, 8199 were granted visas after marrying or becoming engaged to Australians and 864 convinced authorities that they were asylum seekers.

The number of students wanting to study in Australia is not expected to decline and a recent ruling could see the number applying from India rising as the country is now regarded as less of a risk in terms of bogus applications.

India's immigration rating has moved from Level III which is high risk to Level II which carries a moderate risk, meaning that more visas are likely to be granted to Indian students. Around 60,000 Indian students were studying in Australia in 2016 but that number is now expected to rise.

Universities argue that international students are needed as they pay higher fees and contribute to an exciting cultural mix as well as contributing economically. In 2015, it was estimated that foreign students spent $19.2 billion in Australia on course fees, accommodation, living expenses and recreation.

However, not everyone thinks a growing number of international students is a good idea. Demographer Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute, believes that there are too many and has argued that many are after access to the job market and ultimately to permanent residency.

But the DIBP disagrees. 'All student visa applicants are assessed against a genuine temporary entrant requirement, an integrity measure which seeks to ensure that students come to Australia for the purpose of attaining a world class education rather than to work or gain permanent residency,' a spokesman said.

He added that about 48,000 student visas have been cancelled over the last three years, including for breaching work conditions and on character grounds.