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Cancellation of 457 visas dampens Chinese enthusiasm for studying in Australia

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:24, May 17, 2017

Chinese students studying in Australia have expressed discontent over the country’s decision to cancel 457 visas, warning that the change may make many Chinese students think twice about seeking education in Australia.

The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), which was scrapped by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in April, allows skilled overseas workers to enter Australia to work for a sponsoring Australian employer, and stay in the country for up to four years.

“The 457 visa scheme used to be a perk of studying in Australia, as it grants foreign students easy access to becoming a permanent resident. Its cancellation will definitely dampen our enthusiasm for studying here,” said Stacy Cui, a Chinese student majoring in accounting at Melbourne University.

Cui’s opinion is shared by many Chinese students in the country. According to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), Chinese citizens are the third-largest national group utilizing 457 visas, behind Indians and Brits. Chinese holders of the 457 visa comprise 5.8 percent of the total holders. Workers in IT, science and hospitality are the most likely to utilize the special visa.

“I’ve been several times to the Melbourne Big Meeting, a regional career fair targeting undergraduates and recent graduates. Most companies post eye-catching signs saying‘Australian citizens only’ or ‘Australian permanent residency required’ to exclude foreign students. Without 457 visas, we may lose our only chance to work here, not to mention that following the ban, the list of over 600 eligible immigration careers will be slashed by 200,” Chen Li, a Chinese student in Australia who holds a master's degree in IT engineering, told the People’s Daily Online.

The ban has also worried the Australian public, who fear that the policy change may strike a blow to Australia’s international education industry, which was worth $20 billion in 2015. According to a poll conducted by Iscah Migration, an Australian immigration services company, 93 percent of 495 foreign student respondents said the visa change disappoints them. Eighty-nine percent said they would not have chosen Australia as their study destination if they had known about the revised visa rule.

 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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