Grattan proposes end to immigration points for local study

Skills drive the selection of 70 per cent immigrants – problem is the points system used to decide who makes the cut does not always work in visa applicants, or the national interest. A new Grattan Institute report * recommends reforms, including changes universities will less not like than loathe.

For  a start, awarding immigration bonus points for Australian study is not needed. Grattan cites research stating that migrants’ levels of education matter more than studying here. And points for studying at a regional campus, on the assumption that migrants will stay-on where they studied, don’t have the intended outcome, “with prospective migrants often choosing to apply for a regional visa as a last resort.”

International grads in accounting, engineering and IT can also pick up points by paying for a  “professional year” intended to help them local employer requirements. But Grattan is scathing,  calling it, “a cottage industry riddled with vested interests. Graduates pay high fees for qualifications that do not appear to make international students more employable or boost long-term earnings.”

Points for “specialist” qualifications, in natural and physical sciences, IT and engineering were introduced in 2016, to meet skill shortages, which Grattan suggests were “overblown.” Similarly, targeting “occupations deemed in shortage” with points-based visas, “limits Australia’s access to overseas skilled talent” while distorting international student study choices.  “Using points-tested visas to prioritise people who train in particular occupations is a poor way to identify which graduates are likely to be high earners in the long term,” the Institute argues.

And ministers can intervene, with directions that “are often based on meeting short-term labour market needs, or reflect political pressures.”

To address all of this, Grattan proposes, no bonus points for studying in Australia or “professional years” and specialist STEM qualifications and “greater weight” for English language proficiency, skilled work experience and qualifications, to “better reflect” migrants’ long-term earnings.  Thus a Certificate 3 scores 15 points, a bachelor degree 30 and a PhD 60.

Plus, a degree from a global top 20 university picks up 15 points, with “top” calculated on an average of Times Higher, QS and AWRU results – “using this methodology, no Australian universities are currently in the top 20 globally-ranked universities.”



Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Subscribe to us to always stay in touch with us and get latest news, insights, jobs and events!