For some international students, the ultimate goal of an overseas education is to obtain residency and the right to work in their adopted country. An article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, excerpted with explanation below, shows how international students have flocked to vocational training programs in Australia as an easier way to permanent residency.
In Australia, vocational training colleges are increasing their share of international students at a rate eight times faster than that of universities, after changes to the Australian Government’s skilled migration system made vocational courses a more affordable way to gain residency.
Australian TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutes provide mainly vocational and technical courses. Hospitality, secretarial skills, visual arts, computer programming, hairdressing and cooking are some of the courses and training typically offered through TAFE institutes. By contrast, higher education in Australia is dominated by universities offering degree courses in more typically academic subjects.
Universities remain the biggest educator of international students, with just under half the market share, but enrolments grew by just over 5 per cent in the year to July, compared with growth of more than 43 per cent in the vocational sector, government figures show. “It’s clear that the main reason for that expansion is that it’s seen as a relatively cheap and accessible route to migration,” says Bob Birrell, a Monash University demographer who has mapped international students’ paths to residency.
In 2005 the Australian Federal Government made it more difficult to migrate without expertise in an area of skills shortage, leading to a flood of international students taking cooking and hairdressing courses. Both courses give students extra points towards permanent residency. Unpublished government figures show that in 2005 just 3560 international students took vocational courses in services, hospitality and transport, which includes cooking and hairdressing courses. By last year, the number had swollen to 6339. And by this year it was 9454.
Read the whole story in the Sydney Morning Herald online.
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