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Monday, 22 October 1973
Page: 2402

Mr DOYLE (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration. Is it true that following the new policy on overseas students there has been a large number of applications from these students to remain in Australia on the completion of their studies?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - It would not be true to say that there has been a large number of applications by overseas students to remain in Australia. From memory, I would say that at the present time no more than twenty are seeking by representations to me to stay under the criteria laid down. At present throughout Australia there are some 10,000 overseas students of whom 3,700 are at universities and the others at schools and colleges. The scheme is designed to promote friendship and amity in our region. It is not meant as an aid gesture to our neighbours. During my visit to South East Asia a couple of months ago I discussed with the Governments of Indonesia and Malaysia and particularly Singapore the criteria for students coming to and remaining in Australia. There was a ready recognition of the effort being made by Australia to extend the hand of friendship in this direction. With respect to students who graduate in Australia and wish to remain here I said, on behalf of the Government, that they would be counselled to return to their homeland because that was the basis on which they came to Australia to study but that if there were any persons who met the criteria and wished to remain, despite being counselled to return, they would not be discriminated against. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of those who come here and study successfully does, in fact, return home. The figures I have given testify to this.

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