The Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) provides a strong platform to expand Australian education and training services exports to Peru. This covers Australian institutions seeking to open campuses in Peru and removing barriers to encouraging more Peruvian students to study in Australia.
There are over 1,100 Peruvian students enrolled to study in Australian educational institutions. In 2012, Australia was selected to be the first country to host post-graduate Peruvian students sent abroad on full scholarship by Peru’s National Scholarship Agency, PRONABEC. Australia is now the most popular English-language destination for these scholars.
Education services provided to international students in Australia have broad economic benefits beyond tuition fees.
Recognition of Australian university degrees
Once the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement enters into force, Peru has undertaken to allow the recognition of Australian university degrees. This will strengthen Australia’s attractiveness as an education destination by giving Peruvians with Australian university degrees access to better employment opportunities when they return to Peru, particularly in the public service and academia.
Online education presents a growing opportunity to provide greater numbers of students with flexible, high-quality and internationally-recognised skills and qualifications. Peru has committed not to impose restrictions on online courses that are part of a broader program that mainly takes place outside Peru. For example, Australian universities can offer Peruvian students the option of undertaking most of their studies in Australia, but completing some parts of the course online while the student is in Peru.
University campuses, international schools and vocational education
Australian universities, international schools and vocational education providers will be able to offer a wider range of courses to Peruvian students through the establishment of campuses in Peru. Peru has retained the right to impose quotas on the number of education providers, but it has also undertaken to grant Australian education providers the same regulatory treatment as Peruvian education providers operating in the same circumstances. This ensures a level playing field for Australian education providers operating in Peru.
Australian teachers, academics and other staff of education institutions
Peru does permit foreign teachers, academics and other staff of education institutions to work in Peru on a case-by-case basis, but it does not make legally binding commitments through trade agreements.
Any foreigner working as an intra-corporate transferee in Peru is generally subject to a quota (maximum 20 per cent of the workforce with pay not exceeding 30 per cent of total payroll). Peru has committed not to tighten this restriction in the future for Australians. Peru has also committed to allow Australian education providers operating in Peru to request a waiver to allow them to hire more Australians to work in post-secondary education, private schools or specialised language centres. Peru will also allow Peruvian private schools to apply for a waiver to employ more Australian language teachers.
Australia and Peru have decided to exclude public education (along with public health and other social services) from the commitments that apply to other service sectors. This reflects public concerns that public education should not be treated as a commercially tradable service due to its social importance. In addition, Australia has not made any commitments on primary education or childcare.