Strong future ahead for Adelaide’s international education sector

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By Karyn Kent

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced his national migration plan to ease the pressure on capital cities in the eastern states and support growth in the regions. StudyAdelaide CEO Karyn Kent explores how the changes could bring even more international students to study, live and work in South Australia and what this means for local businesses.

The outlook for Adelaide’s international education sector – and SA’s business community – has been boosted with the Australian Government’s release of its ‘Plan for Australia’s Future Population’.

As recently announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the plan features a range of measures to create better incentives to encourage new migrants to settle outside of Australia’s largest cities.

Included among these measures is an additional year in Australia for international students who have completed their studies at a regional campus of a higher education institution, lived in the region during their first post-study work visa and who wish to continue to live and work in the region.

The whole of SA, including Adelaide, is considered regional for migration purposes and the potential of that extra year will now be offered to existing and new international students in the state.

StudyAdelaide is a partnership between government and the education sector, promoting Adelaide to international students. We are delighted to see these changes and confident they will provide a significant additional incentive for even more international students to choose to study and live here.

It is great news for the SA economy given international education is our second largest export and was valued at $1.6 billion in 2017/18, with capacity to grow beyond the 38,000 international student enrolments we achieved in 2018.
It is also great news for SA businesses.

Students graduating with higher education qualifications can now work for a minimum of three years, giving local businesses extended access to their knowledge and skills which are in occupations of high demand, such as engineering, IT, commerce and health.

StudyAdelaide CEO Karyn Kent.

Many SA exporters, especially those in the wine sector (our largest export sector), have enjoyed great success employing international students and graduates.

International students deliver tangible benefits for these companies with their first-hand knowledge of target export markets, their language skills and their networks and contacts, to support and help deliver the export aspirations of our local businesses.

SA businesses can easily access these skills – the post-study visa (subclass 485) requires no employer sponsorship and international graduates are employed under the same conditions as an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

The Australian Government’s announcement builds on recent changes also announced by Immigration SA that benefit those international students who aspire to migrate, in recognition of the investment these students have made in an education here and the contribution they will make to the SA economy as a highly educated graduate. Many of these graduates go on to establish their own SA businesses, that in turn employ locals.

One of the founders of web and app developers PixelForce is originally from Hong Kong and now employs more than 25 people here in Adelaide. They developed the Sweat app for Adelaide’s fitness duo Kayla Itsines and Tobi Pearce, who were recently listed among Australia’s 250 richest people.

Nicho Teng from China studied at Glenunga International High School and Flinders University and has gone on to establish Haneco Lighting and Greaton, a property company that is developing the new Wirra Wirra five-star hotel and the Westin Hotel as part of the GPO redevelopment, which is set to open in 2022.

Deloitte Access Economics reported in 2018 that for every four international students in SA, one job is created.

These new jobs aren’t just limited to our education institutions who deliver Adelaide’s world-class education, they are spread throughout our economy.

In 2018 and 2019, four purpose-built student apartment buildings have been completed and another four are in the pipeline. Imagine the contribution to construction and ongoing operational jobs created by these alone.

Premier Steven Marshall has identified growing both international student numbers and our population as key priorities and, along with our members, StudyAdelaide looks forward to welcoming even more students here.

Together, these policies clearly add to SA’s significant appeal as a study destination for international students, alongside our world-class education institutions and vibrant, affordable lifestyle.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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