Private schools want to be able to hire staff from overseas on longer-term contracts.
Private schools want to be able to hire staff from overseas on longer-term contracts.

Push for more foreign teachers and principals

PRIVATE schools are lobbying the Immigration Department to bring in foreign teachers, religious staff and even school principals on longer-term contracts.

Foreign pre-school and high school teachers can currently be hired on four-year visas but school principals and primary teachers are restricted to two-year work permits.

The Independent Schools Council of Australia has told the Federal Government's skilled migration review it is "imperative'' that school staff are recruited from other countries, particularly specialist teachers who can stem a crippling shortage of language and science instructors.

Private schools have warned it is "difficult'' to find native speakers of foreign languages, or teachers of Latin, maths, chemistry, physics and special education.

ISCA warns that a two-year work visa is so short that the cost of recruiting and relocating foreign staff is "almost impossible for a school to justify''.

And it wants Home Affairs to lift the ban on bringing in foreign ministers of religion to work as school chaplains or teachers.

"The employment of overseas staff enables Australian Independent schools to bring into this country a range of expertise in international curricula, high priority learning areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), experience in boarding school and also experience in schools with an international focus,'' ISCA says in a submission to the review.

"It is imperative for Independent schools to be able to access a wide range of candidates to fill leadership positions in schools.

"The inclusion of the Minister of Religion occupational category would greatly assist independent schools to recruit school chaplains and other religious staff.''



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