Globalisation is to be valued, not feared, and Newcastle is in a great position to take advantage of the way the world will continue to do business in the 21st century.
This is particularly so in relation to education and training, and especially for the aspiring south-east Asian market. The University of Newcastle already attracts thousands of international undergraduate and postgraduate students each year, but TAFE and other businesses and organisations have much to offer.
Jade Visa is a specialist investment immigration consultancy that assists business migration to Australia. We see great business opportunities ahead for Newcastle’s education institutions and companies providing training.
Having spent much of my career working in the corporate and international business sector, I have built Jade into a company with strong government, business and education connections in south-east Asia and Australia. Jade not only provides the best information for business migration to Australia but understands the potential for the tertiary education and training sector.
We have recently opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and we are working directly with three private Vietnamese universities, assisting their students with certainty on courses and qualifying, or credits that allow them to finish degrees and gain Australian qualifications.
Hoang Cuong heads up the international centre in Australia for fledgling Vietnam FPT University. Based in Melbourne, Hoang said FPT University is an offshoot of the giant FPT Corporation, an IT solutions business.
The university was only founded in 2006 and Australia is already one of the most important countries in its international portfolio. IT is the main subject but business and language are also important offerings.
“We are in successful collaboration with several Australian universities,” Hoang said.
“And FPT University would like to expand those collaborations. Newcastle University is a definite possibility and discussions are already under way.”
Investment across international borders not only enhances business opportunities, but opens up a whole gamut of two-way cultural appreciation. Australia has a number of visa options for individuals who wish to work or invest here. These visas are designed to target genuine skill shortages, diversify business expertise and increase entrepreneurial talent, without displacing Australian workers.
Net overseas migration is currently at its highest-ever level in NSW, boosted by record overseas arrivals and the strength of the state economy. The inflow was almost 100,000 in 2016-17, mainly driven by temporary migrants such as overseas students.
The federal budget papers said strong migration has brought benefits, such as rising workforce participation because migrants are mostly of working age and fuel economic demand — but it is also putting pressure on the state.
“Migrants are attracted to major cities where employment and education opportunities are the strongest, placing additional pressure on public services, infrastructure and housing,’’ the budget papers say.
And there’s the rub. Migrants generally tend to congregate in enclaves in the capital cities. They should be encouraged or assisted to settle in regional Australia. The Hunter is a perfect fit, especially if we have already forged a connection through education or training.
The NSW government said it would like some input when the federal government sets migration levels. “No doubt there is an issue where we don’t control population growth but have to provide the services and infrastructure,’’ Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said recently.
The Hunter can help alleviate the problem and also gain immeasurably from taking in some of the overflow.
The region has a long-term skills shortage. Jade is already engaging with the NSW government about our sustainable education training. We can orchestrate Australian qualifications for university, TAFE and associated degrees, and high-level skills training.
Working at the wholesale level, Jade determines where universities, businesses, and the aged-care and services sectors need help. Newcastle is perfectly placed to upskill Vietnamese dentists and doctors, and Jade is working with training organisations to initiate courses and bring professionals here for intensive training. But there is also potential at the shorter course level as well, such as first-aid trauma. A medical English licence can be gold for a Vietnamese health worker. There is a whole opportunity for medical tourism.
At a federal level, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) supports PhD students carrying out research. There are a significant number of very bright international students at UoN doing research, and the Hunter has a lot to gain from them.
Australia has an enviable record on immigration and providing education opportunities. So consider this: the Hunter’ population is 600,000 and Vietnam’s population is 94 million. Ho Chi Minh City alone has 3.4 million people and Hanoi 1.4 million. The opportunity to provide education and skills training to meet gaps is incredible and the benefits cannot be overstated.
Hoang said FPT University is at the forefront of internationalisation, both in bringing students into Vietnam and sending them to other countries. “Australia is one of the most important destinations,” he said, “and now we are working with Michael at Jade, we are looking for mutual benefits and business collaboration.”
International education is big business and regional universities in NSW have a massive opportunity right now to build their overseas profile. The industries and economies for which Newcastle will be known in 50 years are intrinsically linked to the attitudes of embracing international business into our region.
Jade wants to be a driver of that future Hunter culture. We want the Region to embrace new.