Australia and international students after Covid19 – we have a problem!

Australia has damaged its reputation as a location for international students. This damage is partly due to government action and partly due to our universities.

The damage can be repaired but we will have to start now.

What went wrong?

First, international students were caught in a double whammy – they could not qualify for Job Keeper or Job Seeker – and many could not “go home” because of border closures. That means they were stuck in Australia with no money.

The Australian Prime Minister’s messaging made matters worse, suggesting that those unable to support themselves should “make [their] way home”.

Second, a quarter experienced verbal racist abuse and a quarter reported people avoiding them because of their appearance. More than half of Chinese respondents reported experiencing either or both of these.

These were the findings of a nationwide survey of 6,105 international students and other temporary migrants conducted in July – finding that 70% lost all or most of their work during the pandemic, while thousands have been left unable to pay for food and rent.

A report from UNSW Law Associate professor Bassina Farbenblum and UTS Law Associate professor Laurie Berg – co-directors of the Migrant Worker Justice Initiative – revealed more than half of survey respondents (57%) believe their financial stress will deepen by year’s end.

“Over 16,00 participants described being targeted with xenophobic slurs, treated as though they were infected with Covid-19 because they looked Asian, or harassed for wearing a face mask”, said Farbenblum.

It is a disaster for Australia – three in five international students, graduates and working holidaymakers said they are now less likely or much less likely to recommend Australia as a place to study or have a working holiday.

It is time for Australian universities and Governments to repair the damage.

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

One thought on “Australia and international students after Covid19 – we have a problem!”

  1. Per recent research studies and statistical analysis by well known global organizations on ” Internationalization of Higher Education”, the trend now a days seem to be towards Scandinavian country’s, Netherland, Germany, Ireland, in that order that well healed potential students from Asian subcontinent are looking for to complete their higher education.

    Liked by 1 person

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