migration in covid-19

Morrison scouts Role of Migration in COVID-19 aftermath Recovery Process 

Universities reeling under est. $16 billion loss by 2023; Victoria may NOT Pay for mandatory hotel quarantine for International Students

Melbourne, June 3: Australia’s universities could lose $16 billion in revenue between now and 2023 according to new modelling by Universities Australia. 

Revenue losses for the remainder of 2020 are also likely to increase, now estimated at between $3.1 billion and $4.8 billion. 

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the new four-year modelling underlines the sustained effect of COVID-19 on university finances, not just in the current year but in the years to come. 

“We can’t pretend that won’t have a big impact. Not only does that revenue support the staff and facilities to educate the next generation of skilled workers, it also pays for much of the research and innovation that keeps Australia internationally competitive,” Ms Jackson said. 

Universities are responsible for undertaking a growing share of the nation’s research—from 24 per cent of Australia’s R&D a decade ago, to 34 per cent in 2017-18.

But, international students graduating in Melbourne are increasingly becoming anxious about looming personal financial meltdown; with loss of part-time jobs and the regular combat to find alternative accommodation having vacated campus hostels and graduating into a market without jobs.

According to international students in several universities, despite classes having moved to online platforms, yet universities are loathe to provide any refunds. 

Satish Goel, student at Deakin University said that repayment of educational loans is also adding to my burden”.

Federal population minister Alan Tudge said about 80 per cent of international students were still in Australia and studying; and their experiences are already being aired in their home-countries.

It is no wonder that a survey by Mindler, India’s leading career counselling and guidance, found that 78 per cent Indian students originally planning on studying at an overseas university are now likely to change their higher education plans.

While, Premier Daniel Andrews also noted that Victoria wants international education to resume as quickly as possible; but he would not confirm whether Victoria would foot the bill for hotel quarantine of international students.

“We are hopeful that we can get international education back on its feet soon … it’s going to take a little bit of time,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

BUT, universities might be asked to help pay for the hotel quarantine of international students when they resume learning in Victoria.

The mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for all returning overseas travellers is currently paid for by the state government, but when asked about paying international students, the premier suggested universities may play a role.

“I would want to continue having conversations with unis about that, I think that … probably a partnership approach would be the best thing for us to do,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“My department and the department of education are kind of leading that work. We’re working with a number of other states and with the commonwealth,” he said.

It is understood that state government and tertiary sectors have been asked to formulate a plan for incoming international students at some stage. Australia’s success in dealing with coronavirus is expected to upsurge Australia’s appeal for international students and young professionals. 

Role of Migration in COVID-19 aftermath Recovery Process

Noteworthy here is, Scott Morrison’s address to the National Press Club earlier, when he highlighted the role of migration in the COVID-19 aftermath recovery process. 

The Prime Minister envisaged a net overseas migration target of between about 160,000 and 210,000 in order to maintain the per capita growth in gross domestic product. 

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Migration added 240,000 to our population, in the last financial year.  In recent years, migrants — including temporary visa holders such as students and specialist workers have made up two-thirds of overall population growth, increasing demand in a sluggish economy, including housing, financial services, education and consumables.

But, in what will be the lowest intake in 40 years, the expected drop to just about 35,000 will undoubtedly shrink the economy by almost $40bn annually. 

According Deloitte’s Chris Richardson, migrants add around 2 per cent to our $2 trillion economy.

We simply cannot ignore this ‘people power’ behind the strength of our economy for many decades now. According to population minister Alan Tudge, about 20 per cent of our GDP per capita growth in the last 40 years, was due to our population growth.

Skilled migrants and international students have boosted both productivity and participation – essential for any recovery plan in the post-COVID economy. Simultaneously, with closed borders, Australia should now be able to utilise the under-utilised 150,000 work force consisting of graduates and spouses of residents on temporary visas. 

Regional towns reeling under bush fires and COVID-19 will cry out for people, especially the young and skilled. And with our recent experience, skilled workers and specialists will no longer need to be city-centric. 

Hopefully, Morrison’s migrant-role will indeed work for Australia’s post-coronavirus economy.

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