According to industry experts, the extension of the work hours for international students in Australia could have a negative effect on their academic achievements. While the business community welcomed the government's decision, education organisations warned that the additional hours could affect the academic achievements of international students.
The groups feared that the move could affect Australia's reputation as a globally-acknowledged education destination. According to Phil Honeywood, the CEO of the IEA, the Australian government's decision to extend the working hours of international students without consulting the education industry was a surprise.
Honeywood noted that the policy change could damage Australia's reputation as a quality-focused education destination. Although he understood that the additional work hours were beneficial for students, Honeywood noted that it should be implemented in a way that would allow them to complete their studies in line.
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Oscar Zi Shao Ong, the head of Australia's Council of International Students, said that the business community had already hit the panic button due to the pandemic. He said that the issue was complex and could have various layers. The additional work hours would benefit international students by helping them secure a job and avoid exploitation. It's also beneficial for their welfare.
Although the organisation had been calling for the lifting of the work hours restrictions for international students for a long time, the government still needs to implement measures that will allow them to stay on track. Aside from implementing the new regulations, the government also needs to improve its systems and make sure that the expectations of international students are met.
Peter Chesworth of Universities Australia noted that they were open to the possibility of granting flexibility to international students. Chesworth said that allowing international students to work would allow them to overcome the challenges they faced during the pandemic.
Though working is important for many international students, the country's reputation as a safe and attractive place to study is another reason why they choose to stay in Australia.Australian Universities also highlighted the situation of over 100,000 international students who were waiting to return to Australia.
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Many were sceptical about the motives behind the changes, which they perceived as a marketing tool to attract more international students. Some also thought that the government might be using the changes to attract more international students in order to fill labour shortages. Many of the students recalled the call from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urging them to leave Australia before the outbreak of the pandemic.
While working long hours may seem like a safer option for international students, it can still expose them to diseases such as Covid-19. Some students and graduates also thought that the changes would allow employers to exploit them. Corporate Australia also commended the federal government for its quick response to the needs of international students.
However, Paul McCluggage of the Australian Council of Trade Unions warned that the changes may have negative effects on the education sector. McCluggage also noted that the changes could affect the quality of education in the country. Lehmann also noted that the changes might affect the way international students choose to study in Australia. Some of them might choose to work longer hours while others might prefer to work less.
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The possibility of a divide between the country's international students might create a situation where higher-class students are pushed into low-paid labour. It also carries a risk that Australia would be seen as advocating for the exploitation of international students.
Source: The PIE News
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