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International student surge: Calls for stronger integrity measures

As an international student surge unravels in universities across the country, there are calls for stronger integrity measures to be imposed on the 500,000 overseas students who gain limited work rights when they enter Australia.

With wage growth already stagnating and job security already precarious, there are concerns about what the proliferation of international students will do to the workforce.  Some are worried that the half-a-million addition to an already overcrowded work market will put more downward pressure on pay packets.

This has prompted calls for better integrity processes, to ensure international students are “genuine” in their study pursuits.

It’s thought this may stop students from enrolling in “Mickey Mouse” courses, which are reportedly being used as a stepping stone to other visa categories that allow for less restrictive work and ultimately, more permanent residency.

But Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, says the value of international students cannot be underestimated.

“Less than forty percent of international students who study here actually take up a part-time job opportunity,” he says.

“And they’re not taking the jobs of young Aussies, because in many cases, they’re doing the work that our own Australian-born refuse to do.  They are doing the commercial cleaning late at night, they are doing the 1.30am shift at 7-Eleven. It’s really hard to get our young Australian-born to do some of the jobs that these students from overseas are willing to do.”

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