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New Rules will Allow Foreign Graduates to Work In Australia

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The Australian government is preparing changes to their immigration laws, which may well be of interest to young Malaysians intending to study abroad.

From 2013, foreign students will be eligible for working visas lasting between two and four years after graduation.

It's a big jump from the current system where graduates are required to have studied for a niche or highly skilled trade. Even then, working visas only lasted up to 18 months.

In theory the changes would allow up to 220,000 foreign university students currently studying there to stay on for a period after they graduate.

Seven of Australia's universities are ranked in the top 100 worldwide and many young Malaysians see Australia as a top destination if they choose to study abroad.

In fact, according to figures from the Australian government, there are currently more than 22,000 Malaysian enrolments in Australia – and our graduates have returned with outstanding qualifications that will put them in a strong position for life post 2020 – in a highly educated, high income Malaysia.

The two countries share a close tradition of educational exchanges. Since the 1950s, more than 260,000 Malaysian students have graduated from Australian colleges and universities.

And it's a collaboration that goes both ways.

There are currently some 75,000 foreign students studying here in Malaysia at various age brackets – many of these are Australians. Last year the Government began investigating a credit transfer system to enable Australian students to more freely study in Malaysian universities.

Last week a group of 21 leading Australian academics visited Malaysia as part of on-going efforts to strengthen the educational partnership between the two countries.

Professor Ian O'Connor, the vice-chancellor of Griffith University was confident there were opportunities for both sides to work more closely together.

"We're impressed with the quality and standards of universities developing in Malaysia," he told a press conference at the Australian High Commission.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently advised young Malaysians that given how connected the world is today, there are tremendous opportunities to be had looking into further education abroad.

"You can maintain your roots but also have a global perspective by acquiring job experience and proficiency in several languages," Najib told students during his trip to the US.

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