Australia’s post graduate visa attracts international students, but many can’t find work in their field.
The top five citizenship countries of 485 visa holders in Australia (India, China, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam) have also been the top five source countries of international enrolments in Masters by coursework (China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam) programs since 2013. However Up to 56% of current visa holders either worked outside their field of study (35%) or were unemployed (21%), which puts these groups at risk of financial stress and vulnerability.
Australian government data shows occupations such as “sales assistants and salespersons” as well and “cleaners and laundry workers” are in the top three for 485 visa holders across all occupations.
Many international graduates identified a number of benefits to the 485 visa though. Some saw the visa as a way to buy time in Australia to enhance their English language proficiency, acquire different forms of work experience and develop professional and social networks.
In other cases, international graduates were able to repay their study loans while working in jobs unrelated to their field of study.
Working in odd jobs also helped some international graduates improve their communication and soft skills. These are necessary for them to get their foot in the door and gain employment that’s more appropriate to their qualifications.