• The 'We Can Do It!' campaign by international students is designed to show their strength as job candidates. (Outcome.Life)Source: Outcome.Life
Only 34 per cent of Australian workplaces hire international graduates.
Alyssa Braithwaite

18 Sep 2017 - 3:40 PM  UPDATED 18 Sep 2017 - 3:46 PM

The path to career success is not an easy one for international students and graduates in Australia.

International students pay up to 400 per cent more for higher education courses than local students, which adds to the struggles they already face when coming to Australia to work and study.

And although international students contribute 19 billion to the Australian economy annually, only 34 per cent of workplaces hire international graduates, according to a report by Hobsons Solutions.

But now a new campaign is hoping to increase employment opportunities for international students by showing their strength as candidates.

Melbourne start-up Outcome.Life, which offers pathways to employment and independent career advice to international students, has produced posters that depict six international students likened to women from the 1940s World War Two 'We Can Do It' poster.

The graduates, who are from Mauritius, Colombia, Malaysia, China, India and Indonesia, are wearing the same clothing as Rosie the Riveter from the original poster, striking the same pose and showing their strength.

Outcome.Life co-founder Gerard Holland believes international students and graduates have trouble succeeding in Australia because of local misconceptions and negative views.

"There are issues with systems in Australia that make it hard for international students to succeed here, on top of the negative views some people hold about their abilities," he says.

"Research has shown that employers believe hiring an international graduate is a greater risk than hiring a local graduate, but we want to highlight that they are just as qualified as locals and they can do it too, if we let them.

“We just want international graduates to be given a fair go. Once employers have experienced their skills, passion and dedication via an internship, they’re generally always blown away and want to hire them.

One of the faces of the campaign, which will run for six weeks around Melbourne, is Harsh, a graduate from India who studied IT in Australia.

He says he has faced prejudice and difficulties finding working, despite his qualifications.

"I’ve applied for so many positions that I was qualified for but I often get overlooked because I’m not a local graduate," Harsh says.

“Australian Companies are worried that if they hire Internationals and for some reason their visa expires then companies are in trouble with reliability issues.”

Harsh experienced this first hand after applying for a job before he completed his studies.

“The interviewer asked me the final question before finishing the conversation over the phone that ‘Are you a permanent resident?’ I didn’t hear anything from them afterwards."

"We just want international graduates to be given a fair go."

Taiyo came to Australia from Malaysia to study global media and communications. She says she loves Australia because of its diversity and dynamic environment, but found establishing herself in a new country hard and unfair.

"A lot of companies are very skeptical... as they are doubtful that internationals are capable of doing the same job," Taiyo says.

“So, it’s important to be persistent and show potential employers that you can add value to their company.

“Coming from a different culture, can be a rich resource to companies. It helps contribute different perspectives and ways of working within the workplace.”

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