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Since the September Skills Summit, the Albanese Government has adopted an unprecedented skills manpower policy. It is to make overseas migration, and the graduates from the overseas student industry in Australia, an integral part of this manpower policy.

This report shows that the share of the universities’ training effort allocated to overseas students has become enormous; equal to 40 per cent of all graduations (domestic and overseas) by 2020. This focus on overseas students is already diminishing opportunities for domestic students, including in the key fields of IT and engineering, where the universities provide more places for overseas students than they do for domestic students.

Australia’s universities do not accept any obligation to prioritise training for domestic students in fields where there are national skill shortages. Successive Australian governments have allowed this practice, and it is the stated policy of the Albanese Government to allow it to continue. The intention, instead, is to increase reliance on immigration and on overseas students who graduate here to fill the gaps. The report shows that this policy will mean a sustained increase in the level of overseas migration with the main source deriving from the overseas student influx. The result will be a return to the ‘Big Australia’ migration levels that prevailed prior to the pandemic.

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