Australia’s Immigration And Education System: A Comprehensive Overview

History of Immigration in Australia


Write report on Australian migration law for international students and describe the following points:

1. history of migration law for international students.

2. lagislation( rules, regulation).

3. current situation of the law and problems of international students.

4. compare the migration law with oher countries as well.

5. some case studies must be included.

6. any new solution for problems of international students.

Since the establishment of the first immigration Department of Australia in 1945, the number of women and migrants who have settled in Australia is around 7 million. It needs to be noted that the immigrants from all parts of the world have contributed in the society, culture and the prosperity of Australia and the Department of Immigration and citizenship recognizes this contribution as a significant factor in shaping the country. While Australia is also known as the “nation of immigrants”, a great misinformation and confusion is present in the public debate regarding the number of permanent migrants that have been actually accepted in Australia. The reason is that some statistics that are publicly available regarding the permanent as well as temporary migration have been used interchangeably or even incorrectly and the result is that the statistics that are used for explaining the flow of migration are generally not correct and misleading (Borland and Pearce, 2002).

The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 or the ESOS Act provides the legislative requirements as well as the standards related with regulation of education and training institutions that offer courses to overseas students in Australia were present in the country on a student visa. Particularly, the ESOS Act provides fusion protection to the overseas students. Therefore it can be said that the provisions of ESOS Act, 2000 and related legislation have been designed with a view to protect the interests of the students who come to Australia on study visa. The purpose of the legislation is to protect and also enhance the reputation of Australia as a destination for quality education and to support the indignity of student visa program resides providing fusion protection. The ESOS Act is administered by the government of Australia through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. This department has a responsibility to administer the Act and also raise legal instruments related with it. In this way this law governs the process of registration and also the obligations of the registered providers. In the same way, it also governs tuition protection service as well as enforcement and compliance powers.

The immigration program of Australia has been divided into two distinct programs for the permanent migrants. These are the migration program that is available for the skilled and family migrants and then there is the Humanitarian Program that is available for refugees or the persons who are in refugee like situations. Till date, a member of changes have been made to these programs as well as to the data collection due to which, it is somewhat difficult to compare these statistics related with it (Bruce, 1997). In 1901, during the time of Federation, all the States administered their own migration programs. However with the president of time, the Commonwealth government started to take more responsibility regarding the issue of immigration. Eventually, active control of immigration was taken over by the Commonwealth government after the World War I and it encourages new settlers. The result was that doing 1920s, nearly 300,000 settlers came to Australia. Most of them came under the assisted seems like the Empire Settlement Scheme. It is also estimated that during 1901 and the Second World War, nearly 700,000 new settlers arrived in Australia and as a result, the population of Australia increased to 7 million (Pincas, 2001).

Overview of the ESOS Act

The first federal immigration portfolio of Australia was created in 1945. At the same time, World War II and its aftermath provided significant boost to the new portfolio and it also encourages the implementation of a migration program on a large scale. After the great War, the government of Australia was willing to increase the population of the country so that it can stimulate economic development after the war and at the same time, with a view to increase the people who are available in the country to defend it in case there is another war. The result of these efforts was that nearly 1,000,000 migrants came to Australia during each of the six decades after 1950 (Burns, 1991).

During the modern times, international students have a number of options when they are selecting their study destination. The key destinations in the past like the UK, USA and Australia now have to compete with many other countries as several countries that were source countries in the past have now started to attract international students on their own land. Another significant factor that needs to be noted in this regard is that domestic provision is also improved significantly in a number of developing economies as a result of higher investment in education as well as due to the presence of transnational programs due to which the students can opt for overseas qualifications but do not have to leave their own country. The various forms of online education have also resulted in expanding the available choices for international students throughout the world (Freedman and Philips, 1985). 

However, while more choices available to the international students, there are certain new challenges that have emerged for the international students. For example the increase in knowledge economy has resulted in changing the skills and knowledge requirements. Similarly the generalization of higher education has also expanded the supply of tertiary educated students who entered the workplace. The rapidly changing international education environment means that the competition has increased significantly for the Australian international education industry and at the same time, an increasingly discerning population of international students. The social, economic and cultural benefits that are related with international education are acknowledged by all (Mullins, Quintrell and Murphy, 1995). But at the same time, the fast paced changes related with globalisation have also resulted in significant ramifications for the international education industry of Australia. For long, Australia is considered as a pioneer in international education but this does not mean that the leading position of Australia in this regard is guaranteed. A key driver behind student choice is the opportunity to gain experience in the labor market of the host country as well as the need to understand the issues related with international students and these issues are closely associated with the continuous success of Australia in the field of international education (Yang and Glum, 1994).

Great significance is placed by the international students on gaining work experience in the host country both for improving their chances of getting permanent residency and also to improve the prospects of employment in their home country. In this regard it is considered as imperative to acquire relevant work experience during study. For example, a clinical placement can be considered as a necessary part of a nursing qualification. In the same way, the demand is increasing for certain type of work placement in case of engineering and accounting also. The rising demand for work experience can also be seen in the fact of the expansion of programs like Profession Year or the recent decision made by the government of Victoria to invest in internship program aimed at international students. On the other hand, it also needs to be noted that despite the increase in demand for work experience, largely the international students have to face a lack of opportunities in order to gain work experience that is related with their particular field of study (Yanhong and Kaye, 1998).

Migration Programs for Permanent Migrants

In 1999, a decision was made by the government of Australia to liberalize study-migration path way so that the international education sector can experience more growth and also with a view to address the shortage of skills in certain areas. The economy of Australia was strong, mainly as a result of a mining boom and concerns were expressed that a shortage of skills may prevent Australia from taking full advantage of this particular era of prosperity and economic growth. The result was that the international graduates who have Australian qualifications and also the exposure to local culture as well as the working conditions in Australia and who are at their prime working age, were considered as being the most suitable candidates. The expectation was that such a policy will result in a win-win situation for the government of Australia as it will encourage continuous growth in the lucrative higher education industry and at the same time it will provide the nation with the skills that are required by it (Zimmerman, 1996).

It also needs to be noted that this was the time when the funding by the Federal Government was shrinking. As a result of the policy changes in 1999, within a year, half of the skilled migration applicants were holding Australian qualifications. However, very soon, concerns were expressed regarding the labor market outcomes of this situation. It was suggested that despite having the local qualifications along with the exposure to the society and culture of the host country, the international students were facing problems in finding employment, particularly in their own field of education. At the same time, reports came to fore regarding a visa racket that was operating in the field of vocational training and as a result of which, the enrollments of international students in courses like cookery and hairdressing were increasing at a fast pace and were mainly of by the private training organizations. Therefore, an apprehension was expressed that as a result of the loopholes present in the skilled migration program, some private colleges have turned into visa factories (Zimmerman, 1996).

As a result of the large number of international students studying in the areas that were listed as the skills in which there is a shortage, the Federal Immigration Department was alarmed. Moreover reports coming in 2006 revealed that the supply was not able to meet the areas where there was a shortage as many overseas students failed to get employment in the fields chosen by them. This situation was despite the fact that in case of professions like accounting, a large number of international students were concentrated, were still in the list of occupations that are in demand. 

There is a stiff competition among the industrialized countries regarding international students. Although the country is like the UK, USA, Canada and Australia still attract a major part of international students, there are a large number of countries that were earlier exporting countries but now are also emerging as the key players in the market of international education. As a result, countries like Singapore, China and Malaysia have made significant investments in the field of domestic education. On the other hand, several traditional host countries want to encourage international skills in some particular skill areas in order to offset their labor market shortage. At the same time, it also provides additional income to the universities which can make up for reducing public funds.

Competition in the International Education Industry

A number of problems faced by international students. For example, the significance of a high level of communication skills is present in case of some disciplines. An example in this regard can be given of the professions of nursing, accounting and engineer as in these professions the employers are looking for the graduates who have excellent communication skills, including good command over English and also the ability to communicate in different settings. For examples, engineers should be capable of communicating on the shop floor and at the same time, they should also have the capability of communicating with suppliers and clients. In the same way, accounting graduates need to collect information from the clients and at the same time give professional advice to them and for this purpose they need to communicate with people at different levels.

Another problem that is faced by international students is that of racism in the society. The issue of racism has been raised by academics, international students and peak bodies during interviews. While discussing the challenges faced by international students, several stakeholders have stated that the attitude of some employers can act as a barrier. For example, an accounting academic has described during an interview that there are certain employers who are a bit behind the times. In the same way, an academic from the field of engineering, who has the responsibility of professional placements, has pointed out the reluctance of the employers to hire international students and attributed it to the high level of xenophobia that is present in the society. At the same time, some officials of the Department of Immigration and citizenship have also raised the issue of racism faced by international students (Brislin, 1981).


In this way, in the present research, an attempt has been made to study the implications of immigration law on the international students as well as the problems faced by them. The immigration laws have a significant impact on the choices made by international students. In this regard, the recent experiences reveal that there are unintended and wide-ranging consequences of linking the migration policy with education. While the opportunities of work after study remains a key driver behind the choice made by international students, at the same time it also needs to be noted that the success of international students in workplace depends on several factors. For example, it is very important that international students should have excellent communication skills as well as the relevant work experience.


Borland, H. & Pearce, A. (2002) Identifying key dimensions of language and cultural diversity at university, Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 25 (2), 101 – 127

Brislin, R. W. (1981). Cross-cultural encounters: Face-to-face interaction. New York: Pergamon

Bruce, C. S. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy. Adelaide: Auslib Press

Burns, R. (1991). Study and stress among first year overseas students in an Australian university. Higher Education Research& Development, 10(1), 61-77

Freedman, S. M., & Philips, J. S. (1985) The effects of situational performance constrains on intrinsic motivation and satisfaction: The role of perceived competence and self-determination. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 35, 397-416

Mullins, G., Quintrell, N., & Murphy, K. (1995) The experiences of international and local students at three Australian universities, Higher Education Research &Development, 14(2), 201-232

Pincas, A. (2001). Culture, cognition and communication in global education, Distance education, 22 (1) Proquest

Yang, B., & Glum, G. A. (1994) Life Stress, Social Support, and Problem-Solving Skills Predictive of Depressive Symptoms, Hopelessness, and Suicidal Ideation in an Ascian Student Population, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 24, 127-139.

Yanhong Li, R., & Kaye, M. (1998) Understanding overseas students’ concerns and problems, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 20(1), 41-50

Zimmerman, S. (1996). Perceptions of Intercultural Communication Competence and International Student Adaptation to An American Campus. Communication Education, 44, 321-335.

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