- The Australian authority showed no support towards international students and their families.
- They closed borders and many candidates at UG and PG level suffered as a result.
- The visa process and delayed or no responses in paperwork led to anxiety.
- Flights were suspended. Available flights were prohibitively expensive. Direct entry was mostly suspended until December ’21.
To check if you’re eligible for immigration,
According to Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-30 report, Indian students make 21% of the total international student entries. In addition, Indian students have much higher rates of labor force participation in Australia, even higher than countries like China.
What worries me as a counselor is that despite colleges depending heavily on fees from international students and despite so much revenue coming in from India, in these challenging times we saw very little support for international students. It is only natural for students in India to wonder how the pandemic situation pans out in Australia. Will there still be new opportunities in the land of vast plains? Many students have turned attention to other destinations like the US, Canada, and the UK.
From Dec 1, 2021, the Australian government opened doors for international students for most universities. To understand the implications, I spoke to a leading expert (
Mr. Rishi Khandelwal) in international education who is based out of Australia.
Many universities have started pilot programs of allowing international students and soon all colleges and universities would open their doors for the international student community. What students should be aware of in this situation?
It is desirable for travel students to review the rules of departure and arrival before making any plans to Australia. Further, students should be meticulously aware of airlines rules and requirements of negative COVID-19 negative reports.
With new rules, what would happen to students who lost study hours due to the closing of borders? What about those students who could not apply for their relevant student visas due to being stuck overseas?
Students should consult their respective agents as in most cases they can claim exemptions for the time lost due to COVID pandemic. As India is a driving work force in Australia – International students contribute to more than 40 billion dollars to the Australian economy – the future is bright for international students. Even after COVID there will be plentiful opportunities and international students will be duly rewarded for their patience.
Could you tell us about the employment prospects for students in more detail?
Australia is facing a massive shortage in the skill development sector and with a commitment of billions of dollars on infrastructure building, migrant workers are going to play a key role in development. This should encourage students from around the globe to pursue higher education and job opportunities in Australia.
What are the most promising academic areas in Australia in terms of employment?
For students who’re academically inclined, engineering courses like mechanical engineering have a huge scope in Australia as there is a commitment to manufacture and produce in Australia, and reduce the dependency on the foreign imports. There are plentiful natural resources in Australia and with time, Australia will take new big strides in the manufacturing sector creating a plethora of jobs for people. Furthermore, courses like Informational Technology gain prominence as Australia plans to boost its technology and the cyber security sector.
COVID-19 has also shown the importance of mental health and related courses. Hence, mental health and well-being would be popular courses in near future. Nursing is also a great option as there’s going to be a significant ageing population in Australia and it requires a considerable number of health workers to serve this population. This also brings up the relevance of social work courses. In the near future, social work might a preferred degree for students into academics.
What about those who are not academically inclined?
If not academically inclined, one should go for the trade courses. One of the most sought after course is carpentry for the international students. The carpentry course leads to a builder’s license in Australia and with the boom in building and construction, skilled carpenters will continue to see growing demand in Australia. Next, the automotive sector is also a popular choice for international students as it leads to the pathway of a technician. Many of these courses require a job ready program, in which students learn and apply their skills in the real world.
How will a student decide which course to go for?
Ultimately it will come down to your interests, capabilities and future ambition. Many of these courses have requirement of IELTS or other English proficiency tests. The requirement could be a 7 band or higher; it’s important to check the requirements. Also, international students should take cognizance of the financial costs involved: university or degree costs will be higher than diploma/trade courses.
Do all these courses have good career prospects?
There are employers in both private and public sector in all the above courses, with many employers even willing to sponsor the right candidate with a lock in period of commitment. The bottom line is that there’s ample demand for these workers in Australia.
Thank you so much for agreeing to share your insights. Any parting words of advice for students?
Ensure that you choose both your course and the university/college carefully as it is a significant investment in your career. Many students are being misguided as they jump from one course to another. It is important to do one’s own research to decide what’s best. Get in touch with students who have already done these courses in Australia and ask questions about their job roles and workplace. These can give important pointsers in terms of how you can chart your own path and assure you about how valuable this journey can be.