Universities call for targeted visas and more money for international education

The Group of Eight (Go8) has advised policy makers on how Australia’s skilled workforce can tap into the ‘global talent pool’.

A new Go8 policy paper has outlined ‘essential decisions’ the new Federal Government must take to support Australia’s economic growth and improved living standards.

According to the group of universities, Australia’s local skills needs can leverage the relationship between research-intensive universities and their overseas collaborators to fill a gap.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the international student sector, Vicki Thomson, CEO of Go8 said, global competition for these skilled workers has increased.

“Australia is at a critical juncture on skills needs – facing serious challenges in maintaining capacity in critical areas of labor needs, including engineering and labor medical work,” Thomson said in a statement.

“We must position ourselves as the region’s premier provider of high-quality postgraduate and research education and as a welcoming and committed member of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Thomson said the guidance document identified imported international skills as key to complementing Australia’s local talent base. To meet federal policy and infrastructure commitments, the Go8 also recommended that Australia introduce a High Potential Persons (HPI) visa.

“This would complement the existing global talent visa program and access to postgraduate study rights, targeting the most successful graduates of the world’s top universities in areas where the workforce is needed, and would create a level playing field in this increasingly competitive global environment,” Thomson said.

The Go8 argues that lawmakers cannot ignore international competition for talent, with governments in the UK and US pulling policy levers to attract academics and researchers in areas critical to economic growth.

“A renewed emphasis on international education in the post-COVID-19 world is needed to reposition the sector to better meet the needs of industry and the economy.

“It will also boost economic growth, foster foreign diplomacy and strengthen Australia’s national security,” Thomson said.

The ‘Supporting Australia’s international education and research sectorThe report was released ahead of Saturday’s election.


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