International students a lifeline for Australian workforce
International students are returning to Australia’s shores, with just under 30,000 arriving in the past six weeks. Many of the students will be joining or rejoining the workforce, relieving pressure on small businesses that have struggled to find workers during the pandemic.
Under temporary new rules, international students can work as many hours as they like until April, compared to a previous cap of 20 hours a week. Reinvigorating the workforce may have been partly behind the decision to reopen the There still remains about 300,000 fewer international students in the country than before the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, current or recently graduated international students made up about 15 per cent of waiters, 12 per cent of kitchen hands, 10 per cent of chefs and 11 per cent of commercial cleaners. International students also made up roughly nine per cent of nursing support staff and personal care workers in aged care before Covid struck whose role is absolutely necessary in present and future. Australia rely on them and people benefit from their skills.
The ability to find work may be a key reason many choose Australia for their studies.
According to 2016 Census data, about 78 per cent of Indian and 87 per cent of Nepalese students get a job while they are in Australia, compared to less than 21 per cent of students from China.
Indian and Nepalese students are also returning at a faster rate than others, making up half of 29,856 new arrivals since borders reopened late last year.
Chinese students have been slower to return, making up about 60 per cent of currently enrolled international students that are still overseas. Many students will also be waiting to return until semester one starts.
Source: NCA Newswire, 23 Feb 2022