Starting from 2013, local students who spend two years in an Australian university will be able to get a post-study work visa for at least two more years, according to changes introduced last November.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Australian trade commissioner Linda Yan. “We have a great number of international students that make a big investment to study in our country. They bring experience and a cultural mix to Australia.”
From next year the students will also be able to join the workforce “to encourage greater exchanges,” Yan said during the three-day Macau Education Fair. “We are a strong economy who needs skilled workers,” she conceded.
In addition there will also be more flexibility for students’ part-time jobs. “Most Macau students pick management or commerce. With more job experience I’m sure they will have a greater chance to get a better position when they come back,” Yan said.
The Hong Kong based diplomat is confident the changes will encourage more Macau students to pick Australian universities, even though that choice is not as cost-competitive as before due to Australian Dollar appreciation.
“It’s a challenging issue for schools,” she admitted. “We try to show them the benefits and the value of our education, especially considering a better income in the future.” And Yan believes the economic growth of the MSAR will open “many more opportunities for local students”. Last year, number of Macau students in Australia has rebounded, namely in engineering, health sciences and creative arts.
“They chose Australia because it’s closer than other countries like the US or the UK and within the same time zone so the family can keep in touch. I also think the lifestyle and the multi-cultural environment are other selling points,” the official said. Several graduates have returned to the territory and started their own business, which doesn’t surprise her. “In our schools we encourage students not just to answer the question but also to ask the question. It’s an open way to learning and discussing.”
“It’s a massive positive output for the Macau society and economy. That can could only benefit the city, which gets back workers with recognized qualifications and who can help change the business outlook,” Yan stressed.