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International students seven times more likely to work in regions if they have studied there

Posted on November 10, 2014
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INTERNATIONAL students who have studied at a regional university are up to seven times more likely to work outside major city centres after graduation than their city-based counterparts.

And while various migration policies have had mixed results in recent years in attracting skilled migrants to non-metropolitan areas, giving international students financial and other incentives to work in a regional area might help address key skill shortage areas, a new paper has found.

“This could have particular importance in the way future policy might incentivise study in such ­locales that might take the form of introducing direct financial aid packages to reduce study costs or through modifying and extending existing (immigration) points through skilled migration visa ­applications,” the paper said.

Lead author Angelina Tang from the University of Queensland said encouraging international students to attend regional universities was a good start, but the limited capacities of these institutions’ teaching and infrastructure posed a problem.

“That is a long-term plan. But the government could encourage international students who tend to concentrate in metropolitan areas to intern or work in regional areas during their studies by introducing, for example, funding to help with their relocation costs,” said Ms Tang, a PhD in the School of Geography. “This will help to develop a sense of attachment and build professional networks in rural areas, and these factors are likely to increase the likelihood to settle and work in these locations after graduation.”

Phil Honeywood, director of the International Education Association of Australia, said: “Policy levers such as the skilled occupation list could be adapted to provide greater migration incentives for healthcare workers in remote communities.”

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