Where are the overseas graduates staying on? Overseas graduate migration and rural attachment in Australia


In order to tackle persistent labour and skill shortages, a number of developed countries have implemented visa programmes and development plans to enhance the attraction and retention of domestically educated overseas graduates. While prior work has principally focused on exploring their migratory flows between countries, few studies have empirically examined the career and migration trajectories of overseas graduates within the country of study. This paper redresses this gap by investigating the spatial choices of overseas graduates from Australian Higher Education Institutions for employment after graduation. Drawing on a nationally representative survey of graduates, our analysis focuses on examining the individual characteristics that lead to the settlement of overseas graduates in non-metropolitan locations across Australia given the pronounced labour and skill shortages experienced outside the country’s urban centres. Results highlight the importance of possessing education or health qualifications and having previously studied and lived in non-metropolitan areas as the key factors underlying the selection of such locales as post-graduation employment destinations. Age, gender, salary, and an English-speaking background were not found to be significant factors in the decision to locate outside of metropolitan areas. These findings are of significant value for future policy development aimed at attracting and retaining overseas graduates to locales with the greatest labour needs.

Applied Geography
Francisco Rowe
Francisco Rowe
Professor of Population Data Science

My research interests include human mobility and migration; economic geography and spatial inequality; geographic data science.