The Business Council of Australia today expressed its support for the federal government’s strategic review of the international student visa program.
BCA President Graham Bradley said the announcement of the review and the additional measures relating to visa assessment levels and processing information were an important first step in rebuilding Australia’s troubled international education industry.
“This industry makes a vital contribution to the nation by attracting significant export income, meeting the skills requirements of industry, and building valuable cultural and diplomatic links with nations in Asia and elsewhere”, Mr Bradley said.
“At a time when the nation needs to be building global industries to broaden the base of our economy, international education is coming under severe pressure.
“The government’s strategic review must determine whether Australia’s student visa arrangements are competitive with those in other nations, especially the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. If it isn’t, these arrangements will need further adjustment.
“The visa review, together with additional measures, especially those relating to China and India, should help address one of the deterrents for international students.
“We also need further initiatives to turn around negative perceptions of Australia as a student destination of choice, including more promotional support from government. The international education sector is a major employer and deserves promotional support as enjoyed by the tourism industry.
“Together, these initiatives should form part of a new strategy for achieving a high-quality and competitive international education industry that can grow on a sustainable basis into the future.
“The decline in international student numbers in quality institutions and courses is a real problem for the nation. The Australian Government is to be commended for taking this step in addressing the situation.
“We encourage the government to complete the review and implement the necessary changes without delay,” Mr Bradley said.