Now that the Coronavirus has taken a small foothold in Australia and the financial markets have taken a serious hit, it’s time for the government to dramatically ramp up the performance of one of Australia’s biggest industries, the education sector.

It’s time to do away for the discriminatory tool used to refuse student visas on mass, the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) test. We need more international students here and we need them Yesterday. We need our vocational and higher education institutions bursting at the seams.

It’s time for the government to increase the migration intake so that the students who have already studied receive invitations to apply for the 189 and 190 visas. It’s time for the government to increase the pitiful 25,000 places on offer for 491 visas so international students can get out there and populate our regional areas.

The increase to the number of invitations for the 189 and 190 visas does not have to be dramatic; the government just needs to bring it back to the same levels as a couple of years ago where 70 points was a realistic score receive an invitation. At least this will ease the despair gripping international students.

The 491 visa is also a great way to entice prospective migrants to Australia and let them prove thier worth to the country. Let them prove that they are capable of working hard and contribute to our regional communities, with the offer of the reward of permanent residency later. Nobody is going to be enticed however with just 25,000 visa on offer per year. Get rid of the cap all together.

My experience of clients who have gone out to regional areas on the 489 visa, is that many of them do not consider returning to Sydney. Why would they? They have jobs, houses cost less than half and the fresh air is great.

The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for a student visa application has been used as a discriminatory tool by this government, mainly towards the Indian student community.

Who cares if they want to try and work in Australia when they finish? Isn’t that why the 485 visa exists anyway?

Who cares if they can find similar courses in the own country? Are we so arrogant to think we have only the best courses in Australia?

Who cares if they have relatives in Australia? Isn’t that better to help them settle into their studies and have a means of guidance and support?

Who cares why they want to study? What young person really knows what they want anyway? Even at nearly 60, I’m still learning different skill sets.

Who cares if there is a study gap? How many Australians have gone off wandering the world after they have studied or bludged off their parents for a while before getting a job?

Who cares if they want to study here to escape military service, political unrest or a government with a bad record of human rights? If that was a problem, why do so many Chinese passport holders get their student visas?

Wake up Australia, the reality is now hitting home fast. We need our biggest industry to be booming along and it can be. Despite the current reluctance to walk out the door because of this virus, Australia offers the dream of a better life. Nothing better than sitting in the bush away from everyone, virus free.

Bring the students here, let them spend whatever they want for whatever reason they want to. Encourage the movement to regional communities. Encourage vocational colleges to open in outback towns even and let the whole of Australia benefit from these students.

Those that contribute their youthfulness and vitality will do well in Australia, just as millions of migrants have done before them. Now is not the time for small minded thinking.

Worried about the GTE? Had your visa refused because of the GTE?  If you need professional advice or representation give us a call to book a consultation to speak one of our highly experienced migration specialists. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online. We also consult over the telephone and Skype via booked appointments for those interstate or overseas and for those concerned about leaving the house and catching a cold (or something worse).

Karl Konrad