November 9, 2012

 

Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne writes:

Amid Australia’s ongoing doctor shortage, the health system risks losing dozens of Australian-trained, foreign-born doctors because of a shortage of intern places. The Australian Medical Students Association estimates the system needs 182 intern places to ensure all international students can finish their medical training and gain full registration as doctors.

These intern, (or post-graduate year one) places, are based in hospitals, which are run by the states. But the Commonwealth also bears some funding responsibility for medical training. The Commonwealth, state and territory health ministers are expected to discuss who should pay and potential solutions to the problem when they meet tomorrow in Perth.

Rise of international student migration

Over the past decade, international students have emerged as a prized and contested human capital resource. OECD and select Asian countries are expanding their international student flows, through global promotion strategies and regional migration programs, aligned with lower entry requirements, including for medical degrees.

International students have been immensely responsive to these migration options. In 1975, 600,000 international students were enrolled abroad, compared with 3.4 million in 2009. By 2025, it is predicted there will be 7.2 million international students studying globally.

A recent British Council survey of 153,000 international students confirmed opportunities for migration exert an extraordinary impact on the choice of study destination. While students sought a high quality, internationally recognised education, the scope to remain and work was found to “massively impact” both decisions and expectations.

 

In 1999, following the removal of a three-year eligibility bar, international students became immediately eligible to migrate to Australia. Within six years of the policy change, 52% of skilled migrants were selected onshore.

By 2010, 630,000 international students were enrolled in Australian courses (all fields and sectors). Of these, 18,487 were undertaking health degrees, including over 3,000 medical and 10,000 nursing students. International medical student graduates grew 223% from 1999 to 2009, compared with 52% growth in Australian domestic graduates.

International medical students

In 2009, the majority of international medical students were enrolled at

  • Monash,
  • Melbourne,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales and
  • Sydney universities.

Their source countries were highly diverse – most notably

  • Malaysia (1,134 students),
  • Singapore (577),
  • Canada (437),
  • the United States (84) and
  • Botswana (74), followed by
  • South Korea,
  • Brunei,
  • Hong Kong,
  • Indonesia and
  • Sri Lanka.

These international students achieve stellar rates of immediate employment and are highly attractive to local employers. As demonstrated by yet-to-be-published research conducted for the Medical Deans of Australia, 45% of international students plan to remain in Australia when they commence their studies. By their final year, 78% accept intern places (virtually all those who are not scholarship students sponsored by their home governments).

Australia’s Graduate Destination Survey from 2009-2011 reveals their employment outcomes to be near identical to those achieved by domestic students (99.6% working full-time at four months compared with 99.7%). The source country was almost irrelevant, with 100% of Canadian, US, Malaysian, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Norwegian and Botswanan students fully employed, compared with 97% from Singapore and 89% from China.

International medical graduates

As affirmed by the OECD, Australia has developed extraordinary reliance on international medical graduates (IMGs), who gain their qualifications overseas.

 

By 2006, 45% of Australian residents holding medical qualifications were overseas-born, including an estimated 25% who were overseas-qualified. The United Kingdom/Ireland, China, India, North Africa/ Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and the Philippines were major sources of migration.

This diversification of supply has proven extremely challenging for Australia. The 2006 census shows just 53% of IMGs secured medical employment in Australia in their first five years of residence (across all immigration categories).

Doctors from English-speaking background countries moved seamlessly into work, while Commonwealth-Asian doctors fared reasonably. Outcomes were poor, by contrast, for many birthplace groups. Just 6% of doctors from China found medical employment within five years, along with 23% from Vietnam and 31% from Eastern Europe.

 

Employment access is significantly better for IMGs selected through the 457 visa temporary sponsored pathway. From 2005-06 to 2010-11 17,910 doctors were sponsored as temporary 457 visa migrants to pre-arranged jobs, with a 99% immediate employment rate.

From 2004-05 to 2010-11, an additional 2,790 IMGs were admitted through the permanent General Skilled Migration category. But not all passed the Australian Medical Council examinations, which are a requirement for unconditional registration in Australia. From 1978 to 2010, 82% of candidates passed the MCQ (the standard theoretical examination), typically on their first or second attempt, along with 85% of clinical candidates. But overall AMC completion rates were just 43%, since many choose not to persist with the process.

Large numbers of IMGs face significant barriers to securing professional registration. By contrast, international medical students face no impediments: they’re of prime workforce age (far younger than IMGs) and have self-funded to meet Australian domestic requirements.

Medical students’ future

We know that large numbers of international medical students wish to migrate to Australia – and access to intern places is critical for them to secure permanent resident status.

If Australia fails to retain these graduates, other countries will. Singapore, for instance, actively recruits in Australia, in a context where the nation’s fertility rate is incredibly low. New Zealand annually registers over 1,200 IMGs per year, but two-thirds will have left within two years. So there is major interest in attracting Australian-trained graduates.

If Australia is serious about retaining international medical students in the future, it’s vital to provide access to intern training places. While the students’ long-term intentions are unknown, it’s clear they have great potential to address Australian workforce shortages in the future.

 

** Lesleyanne Hawthorne is Professor of International Health Workforce, at the Australian Health Workforce Institute, University of Melbourne

This article was first published by The Conversation. A reminder to www.mystudyinaustralia.com readers that TC articles are freely available for republishing under a creative commons licence.

June 1, 2012

The Australian education system has earned a reputation of being one of the most sought after curricula in the world. In June last year, more than 15,000 Malaysian international students were living in Australia.

In 2010, 73 countries took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing, an internationally standardised assessment for 15-year-olds, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Australia was placed in the top 10, out-performing most of the large English speaking countries. Seven of Australia’s universities are ranked in the top 100 worldwide.

Considering the above and the popularity of the Australian education in Malaysia, it is undoubted that the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) has earned an outstanding reputation through its rich and rigorous educational programmes, stimulating learning environments, international and multicultural perspectives and highly qualified and experienced Australian-trained staff.

AISM is a vibrant and growing Kindergarten to Year 12 international school for children from age 3 (Preparation) to age 18 (Year 12). Established in 2000, AISM is the only international school in Malaysia offering an Australian curriculum, delivered by Australian teachers and following the Australian school year.

AISM houses all three of its schools, Junior, Middle and Senior, on one campus and has about 560 students represented by more than 30 nationalities. The school offers a rigorous academic programme leading to the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Whilst great emphasis is placed on academic excellence, the physical, emotional and social dimensions of growth are seen as crucial elements of the school’s teaching and reflect the Australian education philosophy of developing the whole child.

“AISM is certainly a pathway to international excellence. Our students have successfully entered institutions in Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, as well as many European countries,” says David Kilpatrick, the school’s principal. “In fact, one of our Year 12 students has received a full scholarship to study in the UK and will be applying to the University of Oxford.”

AISM recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Principals of Australian International Schools from all over the world. The meeting was attended by principals from other eight countries — United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh — who have become the Founding Members of the Australian International Schools Association (AISA). The forming of this association brings together more than 10,000 students who are studying the Australian curriculum throughout the world.

With the formation of AISA, the principals have formalised different means of collaboration between the Australian International Schools that will provide more diverse opportunities for their students to be involved in competition and collaborative events between the schools, explains Kilpatrick.

With the aim of providing the best of Australian education for all in Malaysia, AISM has also invested heavily in creating a truly 21st century, student-centred learning environment. Its recent major development and expansion project will accommodate classrooms and open learning spaces for the school’s Junior students (aged three to 10 years), extensive performing arts facilities (including a Black Box Theatre, instrument practice, orchestral and dance rooms), excellent ICT facilities, a science and technology centre, a new learning resource centre (library) and a dedicated space for Senior students in their final years of study (Year 11 and 12).

Source: New Straits Times (www.nst.com.my )

February 15, 2012
February 15, 2012


1                     The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced the Government will make the visa application process easier for students from 29 countries by reducing assessment levels across a range of student visa subclasses from 24 March.

The changes are in response to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s (DIAC) 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings, which recommended that a number of assessment levels be changed. 

“While it was recommended that some assessment levels be increased, I have decided to only implement the reductions in order to best support Australia’s international education sector,” Mr Bowen said.

“Lowering the minimum evidentiary requirement for the grant of a student visa for selected countries and visa subclasses is expected to help around 10,500 prospective students.

“These changes will particularly benefit the postgraduate research sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and vocational education and training (VET) providers.”

For example, South Koreans studying VET and ELICOS courses and postgraduate research students from China, India and Indonesia will now find it easier to apply for visas.

“The reduction in assessment levels builds on the measures implemented as a result of the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program, undertaken by the Hon Michael Knight AO, to ensure Australia remains an attractive study option for overseas students,” Mr Bowen said. 

Assessment levels are an important tool in managing the student visa program, as they ensure the efficient delivery of services to a diverse range of students while supporting the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.

Assessment levels align visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by students from every country and in each education sector. They are regularly reviewed and amended to accurately reflect the risk posed by a student cohort.

Those countries and sectors that were recommended to be subject to an increase in assessment levels will be placed on notice and reviewed as part of any future reforms to the risk management framework. 

More information on the reductions to student visa assessment levels can be found at www.immi.gov.au/students/student-visa-assessment-levels.htm

2                     Reduction of Certain Student Visa Assessment Levels

Reductions in Student visa assessment levels for 29 countries for certain Student visa subclasses was announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on 15 February 2012. These reductions will take effect on 24 March 2012.

These changes will lower the minimum evidentiary requirements needed for the grant of a Student visa for certain countries and education sectors.

The following is a list of countries and Student visa subclasses affected by the assessment level decreases which will take effect on 24 March 2012.

Country of Citizenship

Education Sector

Updated Assessment Levels

Belize

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Bhutan

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Botswana

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Botswana

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

China, Peoples Republic of

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Ecuador

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Egypt

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

India

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Indonesia

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Indonesia

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Jordan

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Kazakhstan

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Kazakhstan

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Korea, South

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL1

Korea, South

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Latvia

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Lebanon

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Lebanon

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Lebanon

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL3

Maldives

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Maldives

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Maldives

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Mauritius

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Mexico

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 57
2 – VET

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Namibia

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Nepal

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Nicaragua

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Philippines

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Reunion

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Reunion

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

Suriname

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Suriname

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Tanzania

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Tanzania

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Turkey

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Turkey

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Ukraine

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Venezuela

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

3                     Frequently asked Questions

4 Q: I am an international student studying in Australia. Do these changes affect me?

A: These changes will only affect new Student visa applications made on or after 24 March 2012.

5 Q: What does a reduction of assessment levels mean to Student visa applicants?

A: Students affected by the changes will be required to provide less documentary evidence to support their claims for the grant of a Student visa. These may include evidence of English language proficiency, financial capacity and academic qualifications.

6 Q: Where can I find out more information about assessment levels?

A: Further information on assessment levels including a full list of current assessment levels is available on the department’s website.
See: Student Visa Assessment Levels

 

November 3, 2011

Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead this year’s newly released Human Development Index (HDI) rankings, the annual United Nations measure of progress in human well-being, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Niger and Burundi are at the bottom.

 

The HDI, issued today by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. This year a record 187 countries and territories were measured – up from 169 last year.

 

Norway retained its top position from last year, ahead of Australia and then the Netherlands, while the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden comprise the remainder of the top 10 in that order.

 

But when the HDI is adjusted for economic inequality, Australia becomes number 1 in the world with 0.979 over 1, and New Zealand #2 with 0.978 and Norway # 3 with 0.975.

 

While Australia becomes number one,  standings of some countries fall significantly. The US falls from 4 to 23, the Republic of Korea (ROK) from 15 to 32, and Israel from 17 to 25.

 

In the case of the US and Israel, their positions are affected by income inequality, although health care is also an influencing factor for the US, while education gaps between generations are the main reason for the ROK’s ranking change.

 

In contrast, other countries’ standings improve after the HDI has been adjusted for inequality. Sweden jumps from 10 to five, Denmark from 16 to 12, and Slovenia rises from 21 to 14.

 

“The inequality-adjusted Human Development Index helps us assess better the levels of development for all segments of society, rather than for just the mythical ‘average’ person,” said Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician for the Human Development Report that accompanies the index.

 

“We consider health and education distribution to be just as important in this equation as income, and the data show great inequities in many countries.”

 

The report, Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, notes income distribution has worsened in most of the world and reveals Latin America has the largest income inequality, although it is more equitable than sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in life expectancy and schooling.

 

The report also shows that countries at the bottom of the list still suffer from inadequate incomes, limited schooling opportunities and low expectancy rates due to preventable diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

 

The report stresses that a lot of the problems encountered by countries with low rankings are worsened by armed conflicts and its devastating consequences. In the DRC, the country with the lowest ranking, more than three million people died from warfare and conflict related illnesses.

 

Seven countries – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, Somalia and Tuvalu – were not included this year because of a lack of data.

 

UNDP today also released its related Gender Inequality Index, which puts various European countries at the forefront of gender equality. Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland head the rankings, followed by Finland, Norway and Germany.

 

That index takes into account indicators on reproductive health, schooling years, government representation and participation in the labour market. Yemen ranks as the least equitable, followed by Chad, Niger, Mali, the DRC and Afghanistan. In the case of Yemen, just 7.6 per cent of women have secondary education, 0.7 per cent of legislature seats are occupied by women and only 20 per cent of working-age women have paid jobs.

 

In addition, the report highlights regional differences which cause gender disparities. In sub-Saharan Africa, gender gaps arise in education and are worsened by high maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates. In contrast, in South Asia, gender inequality is mainly due to women lagging behind men in parliamentary representation and labour force participation.

 

Source:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40290&Cr=human+development&Cr1=

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