Skills shortages are placing pressure on employers across a range of sectors. International students and graduates are a pool of high-calibre talent that make an important contribution to Victoria’s skills base and business needs.
There are substantial benefits for employers who hire international students and graduates, including deepening their talent pool, developing an internationally focused workforce and building diversity.
International students are highly capable and, with the same qualifications as their domestic graduate peers, can help to fill Victoria’s current and future knowledge and skills gaps across a range of industry sectors. In addition to their Australian qualifications, international students and graduates bring language skills, intercultural awareness and global connections. Many international students and graduates develop in-demand skills through their studies, including but not limited to STEM and management and commerce.
However, international students and graduates can often be excluded from equal employment opportunities in Australia due to standardised recruitment practices and/or perceived barriers. Currently, there is disparity in graduate outcomes between international and domestic students. In 2022, 57.7% of Australia’s international undergraduates were in full-time employment 4-6 months after graduation, compared with 78.5% for domestic graduates (QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022).
Through Victoria’s Commitment to Action (the Commitment), the Victorian Government is working with employers, industry bodies and education providers to address employment barriers and promote post-study pathways for global talent.
The Commitment sits under Action 7, Pillar 2 of Victoria’s International Education Recovery Plan 2025.
Victoria’s Commitment to Action: Improving international student employment outcomes
The Victorian Government encourages employers in Victoria to pledge to the following actions to improve the employment outcomes of international students in Victoria:
- Employ more – Employ more international students and graduates in their fields of expertise.
- Offer more work experience – Facilitate international students’ access to quality and relevant work experience to build your talent pipeline and organisational diversity.
- Set targets – Make it part of your organisation’s goals by setting targets, or better still make an individual or team accountable for it.
- Remove barriers – Identify and resolve any real or perceived barriers within the organisation and seek professional legal/migration advice as necessary.
- Share success stories – Publicly share employment statistics, stories of success and/or advice for other employers.
Participating organisations (as of April 2023)
How to join the Commitment
If you are interested in joining the Commitment to Action or would like to know more, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Commitment to Action”.
The Frequently Asked Questions section below may also help answer some of your questions.
What is involved in joining the Commitment to Action?
Once signed up, organisations are publicly committed to employing international students and graduates. Organisation logos are also listed on the Study Melbourne website.
Study Melbourne will seek progress updates against the Commitment to Action from participating organisations every 6-12 months.
Are participating organisations expected to commit to all five actions?
While we highly encourage participating organisations to commit to all five actions, we understand this cannot happen overnight. Organisations are welcome to join the Commitment to Action if they can commit to at least one of the five actions.
Do international student graduates have full work rights?
International student graduates with Bachelor, Masters or PhD qualifications are in many cases eligible to apply for temporary post-study work visas (subclass 485), which allow international students to live, study and work in Australia after they have finished their studies.
How long can international student graduates stay in Australia after graduation?
The length of stay ranges from 2 to 6 years depending on the level and discipline of the student’s Australian study qualification. International student graduates with a degree from an Australian institution located in a regional area may be eligible for a second post-study work visa, which allows them to stay in Australia for an additional 1 or 2 years. Further information is available of the Department of Home Affairs website.
Do employers have to sponsor an international graduate’s visa?
Temporary post-study work visas (subclass 485) do not require employer sponsorship.
If you would like to understand the other visa options, refer to IEAA’s Employing international students & graduates: Information and guidelines for employers.
Which industry sectors can international graduates work in?
The international graduate talent pool can fill vacancies across a range of industries, including but not limited to:
- management and commerce – consulting, supply chain management, project management, marketing, human resource management, risk management
- information technology – software development, data science, cyber security, artificial intelligence, network and systems, cloud computing, business and IT analysis, IT consulting
- engineering and related technologies – construction, electronics and telecommunications, building services, manufacturing, transport, automation, power and energy systems
- natural science – biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, sustainability
- social sciences and humanities – policy and planning, public relations, journalism, counselling, social research and analysis, design and architecture, linguistic and languages