Data revealed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the impact foreign students have on the Australian job market. More than 40,000 international students depend on the hospitality sector for their income.
As per the 2011 Australian Census, 1 in 3 international students had jobs.15% of these students were working in the hospitality sector. 11% of the students were cleaners or worked in the laundry. 10% of the foreign students were working as sales assistants. 8% of them worked as food preparation assistants.
The work of foreign students is not tracked by the Dept. of Immigration. International students are allowed to work 20 hours a week. They may work full-time during holidays and semester breaks.
Researcher Henry Sherrell believes that it is likely that these students substitute for young Australians. However, it is a complex field of study and it may be too early to seek reforms. International students and backpackers often work for non-pay related incentives like residency. However, young Australians are driven by the wage factor.
The Productivity Commission reported last year that there was a lack of data on employment patterns for foreign students. Hence, it was difficult to assess whether there should be any limitation on work rights. But it is for sure that foreign students do make an impact on the labour market.
Dr Joanna Howe from the University of Adelaide feels that there is a need for increased focus on the work arrangements of foreign students. This will provide a better understanding of their impact on the labour market.
Traditionally, Australia has viewed foreign students as coming to the country purely for study reasons. However, foreign students have a strong desire and need to work. Thus, their work impact is pretty significant, as per SBS News.
Manling Zhu is a Chinese student at the Australian National University. She also works as a part-time tutor. She says that she would reconsider her decision to pursue studies in Australia if more restrictions were imposed on foreign students.
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