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On 1 September, the Australian government amended its migration regulations by introducing new work visas for holders of Australian university degrees. By this act, Australia hopes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme. The reforms offer third country students with Australian degrees the option of staying in Australia to gain international work experience.
Australia, however, is not the first country to open doors to high-qualified foreign degree-holders seeking employment abroad. Ireland, for example, introduced a graduate work scheme earlier this year that allows graduates to remain in the country for up to six months after completing their studies. Similarly, the UK introduced immigration provisions in May 2007 that allow all UK-recognised Master’s and PhD holders to extend their stay by a year. Canada, which issued off-campus work permits for full-time international students last year, is becoming a favourite for Indian students. Singapore and New Zealand also provide options for part-time work to international students. And in Germany, students are entitled to remain in the country for up to one year after completion of their course, for the purpose of seeking employment relevant to their field of study.
It remains to see if these measures will lead to the desired result of bringing qualified workers and researchers to these countries and if other ambitious countries will follow suit. The race is on to attract and retain the best and the brightest.