Australia has allocated $ 37 Million for assisting the overseas education sector in the nation and offered an extension of certain Post-study work rights for overseas students. The aim is to help the revival of the overseas education sector and encourage overseas students to immigrate to Australia as the majority of the providers have been affected by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, graduates in the Vocational Education and Training sector will qualify for a 2 year Provisional Graduate Australia Visa. The latest report has also called upon the government to launch 3-year Graduate Visas to address the shortage of skills in the nation.
The fiscal package is inclusive of $ 27.8 Million as regulatory fee aid for 2022 which is an extension of the existing FEE-HELP exemption of loan fee till the end of 2022. $ 9.4 Million have been allocated for IDF - Innovation Development Fund to assist ELICOS providers in the diversification of their education offerings into offshore and online delivery.
The Visa measures will permit Provisional Graduate Visa holders who were not able to immigrate to Australia to file an application for a Replacement Visa. Meanwhile, the duration of their residence on the Visa for Masters will be extended from 2 to 3 years for coursework graduates. This will bring it on par with Masters for research graduates.
The Australian Government has also said that the Visa policies will also extend the current provisions for students and provisional graduates. The time they spent overseas studying online will be considered for qualifying for a Provisional Graduate Visa.
Youth and Education Minister of Australia Alan Tudge said that the extension of the grants will assist English language providers specifically affected by the pandemic. It will also help in ensuring the swift return of overseas students, added the Minister. The policies offer obvious incentives for students and institutions and make sure that the students are not deprived and prohibited from arriving earlier in Australia, he said.
Brett Blacker the CEO of English Australia revealed that recent ELICOS figures for August 2021 show a 71% decline in enrolments of students in comparison with August 2019. He said that this is a significant boost for the revival of the ELICOS sector. This is owing to the previous declaration on totally vaccinated overseas students being allowed to return to the nation and removal of disadvantage assessment for DHA ELs, explained Blacker.
The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia Chief Executive Troy Williams said that that independent vocational training and higher education providers are facing tough times. We have thus strongly advocated for the extension of monetary support. ITCEA is pleased that our memo was received as well as acted on by the Government of Australia, said Williams.
ITECA further outlined that independent providers sustain roughly 85% of the 3.9 million students enrolled in vocational training. They also support roughly 10% of the 1.6 million students enrolled in programs for higher education, it added. The following were welcomed as a major victory by ITECA:
Funding for Innovation Development Fund as well as regulatory fee reprieve for specific fees for
The ongoing suspension of the existing loan fee will benefit around 30,000 students enrolled in Undergraduate higher education. IETCA welcomed this but also said that it will continue arguing for its abolition permanently.
Williams said that Student Loan Tax is an awful fiscal impost that taxes individuals borrowing funds for studies to achieve their career and life goals.
Ravi Lochan Singh the President of AAERI and Global Reach MD said that the policy for Post-Study Work is a massive transformation. This is because it puts Australia on par with Canada and in the lead of the UK, he said.
Earlier, vocational students pursuing TAFE Diplomas were offered an 18 months Australia Work Visa if their skills were regarded as scarce. It is now proposed to increase the duration of the Work Visa to 2 years. The requirement for nominating a skill present on the Australia Skill Occupation List will also be eliminated, informed Singh.
AAERI President said that the organization welcomes the changes to the requirements for PSW. He noted that the organization had asked the government for an extension of PSW rights and also the categories of eligible students. This will assist in ROI - Return on Investment’ and express a message that Australia is caring.
The extra year has to concentrate on bigger cities specifically Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, said AAERI. This is along with the focus on regional areas outlined in 2019. It is a well-known fact that overseas students are allured by PSW policies, it noted.
Ravi Lochan Singh added that he remains thankful to the Minister of Education and Youth. He said that he is highly optimistic that Australia will quickly emerge again as the chosen destination for overseas students.
Daryl Fong Chief Operating Officer at AECC Global said that the policy will offer extra opportunities to students to obtain valuable work experience in Australia after their studies. It is a major change that will enable Australia to become highly attractive for overseas students, he added.
Jake Foster the Chief Commercial Officer said that it is amazing to see that overseas students affected by the pandemic who were not able to stay in Australia upon completion of their studies are offered the Replacement Provisional Graduate Visas.
Immigration, Citizenship, Multicultural Affairs, and Migrant Services Minister Alex Hawke said that the policies are aimed at supporting overseas students encouraging them to immigrate to Australia. However, they are also a vital component of our economic revival that will assist us in attracting and retaining skilled workers, he added.
Notwithstanding the opening of the international borders in December this year, 2022 will however be tough, according to ITECA. Its Chief Executive Troy Williams said that reopening borders is the first step towards the revival of the overseas education sector in Australia. But the year 2022 will nevertheless be tough. We thus welcome that the Government endorsed our suggestions for continuing with fiscal aid for the sector, he elaborated.
ITECA has commended the Australian Government for the diverse initiatives for which the organization had been campaigning. These include extra places for short courses and continuing with the waiver of the tax on a student loan for higher education.
Williams said that the extension of ASQA and TEQSA regulatory fee relief for another 6 months is an issue for which ITECA had been strongly campaigning. It will help in releasing fiscal flow vital for independent vocational training and higher education providers for supporting jobs in their businesses, he added.
Allocation of $ 17.7 Million will extend the waiver on charges on fees for the following till January 1st, 2022:
Employment, Skills, Workforce, Family, and Small Business Minister Stuart Robert said that the continued Government aid through fee waiver will maintain sustainability for the VET sector and its post-pandemic recovery.
The waiver of the regulatory fee is a big reprieve for all the members of the IHEA and providers across the sector according to Simon Finn the CEO of Independent Higher Education Australia. Providers have to highly concentrate on their resources now than ever before – both fiscal and non-fiscal. This is for ensuring that they maintain delivery of top-class student experience, he added, as quoted by the PIE NEWS.
Peter Coaldrake the Chief Commissioner of Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency welcomed the extension of the waiver of diverse TEQSA charges and fees. The agency also published a consultation paper that highlights its proposed approach.
Around 30,000 current and imminent students will benefit from the FEE-HELP loan fee waiver. The assistance for the overseas education sector is crucial as in March 2020 Australia had roughly 494, 806 primary Study Visa holders which declined to 317, 940 by April 2021 informed ITECA.
The Government of Australia has announced that the financial assistance package is apart from its $ 47.5 Million decreases in regulation expenses in 2020. It had provided additional billion dollars for research funding this year for the University sector along with 30,000 extra places.
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