In an effort to reverse Australia's brain drain, the federal government is to provide loans to foreign professionals intending to work in Australia to pay for university bridging courses to meet local requirements. Universities will offer loans-based postgraduate training. The government-funded loan will be repaid later as a tax surcharge on earnings.
Education minister Brendan Nelson said the loans would attract more overseas graduates to Australia.
"For many years the government has provided grants for bridging courses," Dr Nelson said.
"However, as more highly skilled migrants are encouraged to our shores, the demand for these courses has exceeded the number of funded places (so now) the government has responded to the demand by providing this new loan scheme."
He said that while foreign professionals who wanted to qualify to work in Australia were likely to secure well-paid jobs, they might not have the money to pay for course fees.