The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) today strongly welcomes the State Government’s commitment to boosting Western Australia’s international education sector.

 

Introducing a Graduate Skilled Migration List for advanced qualifications shows that the Government has listened to industry concerns and should be commended for taking appropriate action to boost our market share of international students.

 

CCI has been calling for a change to State Government policy so that WA can attract more international students, to boost the State’s tourism sector and create many new local jobs in the process.

 

International students don’t just choose their study destination based on academic opportunities. The perceived opportunities for employment after studying are critical to attracting students to WA.

 

WA’s international student commencements declined 13 per cent in first quarter of 2018 compared to this time two years ago. At the same time, South Australia saw a 9 per cent increase in commencements and Tasmania a 28 per cent increase over the same period – two states which have traditionally struggled to gain significant growth.

 

The effect of this decline is far reaching across the WA economy, resulting in lost revenue for the tourism sector as well as the knowledge economy which supports student visitors.

 

The new Graduate Skilled Migration List will tell the world that WA not only welcomes international students to our world-class universities, but that we want them to make our great State their home. It will also put us on par with other Australian states which have similar programs.

 

Friends and family of international students spent an estimated $1.17 billion in the country last year. Today’s announcement will unchain our international education sector to chase down WA’s share of this growing pie.

 

CCI looks forward to continuing to work with the State Government to develop a long-term strategy to increase WA’s market share of international students.

 

We encourage the Government to continue to assess the occupations on the WA Skilled Migration Occupation List in light of industry feedback that skills shortages are beginning to emerge from an increase in mining activity in WA.

 

*All comments are attributable to CCI Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell.