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Wednesday, 2 May 1973
Page: 1555

Mr THORBURN (COOK, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Is it now the policy of his Department that persons who have been temporarily residing in Australia on students' visas will be permitted to remain in Australia as permanent residents following the successful completion of their courses of study? If not, will the Minister give sympathetic consideration to permitting such persons to remain in Australia where the Minister is satisfied that suitable employment opportunities do not exist in the home countries of such persons?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - There are 2 categories of students that come to Australia. The first category, in which this Parliament has a direct and continuing interest, comprises the Colombo Plan students. Colombo Plan students come here under agreements between our Government and other governments in our region of the world. If a Colombo Plan student wishes not to return to his own country at the end of his studies this is not a matter for the

Minister for Immigration; it is a matter for the Minister for Foreign Affairs because it involves an agreement between Australia and other countries in the region. The second category comprises students who come here privately. In the past students from our own neighbourhood have been encouraged to come to Australia to study. Many of them have studied with great distinction. Many of them have led the way in our tertiary institutions. Perhaps their next activity has been to take a position here, for practical purposes associated with their studies. At the end of that period they have been required to return. The end result of that policy was that many valuable people ranging from doctors right through the whole gamut of the professions have left this country. They have ended up in Canada, the United States of America or Europe doing jobs which they could profitably have done here. In future each individual who comes here privately will be assessed on his merits. If he can comply with the criteria which are now in force he will be very welcome to stay.

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