Media releases

Proposed legislation does not strengthen citizenship, it weakens the economy.

28 Jun 17

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) condemns the proposed changes to Australian citizenship laws (Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment Bill 2017) and the 457 Visa debacle that is currently plaguing international students.

International students not only provide opportunities for international collaboration in research but are essential for university funding. In New South Wales alone international students now provide more in fees to universities than domestic students provide.

A recent survey of the agencies responsible for the majority on international student recruitment has shown that the changes to citizenship laws and 457 visas could put this recruitment at risk. While there is the availability of the 485 visas these are not enough to provide a clear pathway for residency and citizenship for these students.

International higher education provides an 8.5% boost to Australia’s national GDP and is the largest industry in Victoria and the third largest industry in the country. A move such as this is going to put Australia’s standing as an international educator at risk which will in turn damage Australia’s economy.
By changing the laws to require 4 years of Permanent Residency before citizenship international research students will lose their opportunity to become citizens after completion of their PhD. Meanwhile the changes to the skilled visa list will is making it increasingly difficult for life science researchers to continue their research at Australian institutions.

“International students that attend Australian universities naturally integrate into Australian culture and the law needs to reflect that,” said National President Peter Derbyshire.

“In many cases these are students that are undergoing essential research in Australia including cancer research. Students that are making a real contribution to Australia need to be recognized and, if they wish to stay in Australia to continue their work, the opportunity needs to be available,” said Mr Derbyshire.

CAPA is encouraging Members and Senators to protect Australia’s economy and our future as research leaders by rejecting these proposed changes.

For Comment: 
Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President M: 0435 047 817 E: