Australian High Commission

New Colombo Plan

New Colombo Plan

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region. The NCP is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia’s relationships in the region, as well as ensuring a more Asia-aware Australian workforce for the future. Over time, the Australian Government wants to see study in the region become a rite of passage for Australian students and an endeavour that is highly valued across the Australian community.  More information can be found here.

The NCP involves a scholarships program for study of up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants program for short and long-term study, internships, mentorships, clinical placements, practicums and research. The 2015 Round will support approximately 60 scholarships and provide around $8million in mobility grants for Australian undergraduate students. The program is open to Australian undergraduates aged 18 to 28 at Australian universities, with capacity to include some students over 28 in the mobility program. 278 Australian undergraduates will study in 2016 under the New Colombo Plan.

By the end of 2016, around 10,000 Australian students will have been supported to live, study and work in the region under the New Colombo Plan and these numbers will continue to grow.  

Internships and mentorships are strongly encouraged and help to ensure Australian students are work-ready and have professional connections in the region. Internships are a monitored work or professional experience, offering students the chance to test their skills in real-life situations, explore career options and gain insight into an organisation. They can range from a week to six months of work, be unpaid or paid, undertaken full-time after a study period, or part-time during a course of study. A mentorship is a personal development relationship where a business professional or academic helps to guide a student in his or her work or career to support their learning and professional growth.

Arrangements for study, internships and mentorships are made by universities, their students and host institutions and organisations to suit the needs of all parties.

We are seeking businesses and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) involvement in the NCP to provide internships and mentorship placements, and champion the value of study and work in Malaysia. In providing internships and mentorships, businesses and NGOs can connect with talented young Australians, promote their organisation to Australian universities and students, and demonstrate support for the NCP's core aim of lifting knowledge of the region in Australia. There is no “typical” internship/mentorship: they can range in length, be unpaid or paid, undertaken on a full- or part-time basis, with or without a separate study period. The design of a program is left intentionally flexible to allow businesses and NGOs to determine their own offerings in line with their corporate policies and preferences, to ensure they get value from the program.

By offering internships and mentorships, organisations benefit by:

  • harnessing the skills of talented young Australians
  • accessing graduates who may be valuable future employees, volunteers and supporters
  • building awareness of the organisation’s objectives, challenges and work environment
  • developing a workforce with the experience needed to work with the Indo-Pacific, and
  • joining the future of Australia’s engagement with our neighbours. 

We are establishing a New Colombo Plan Network for businesses and NGOs to register their interest in taking on interns and mentees. This Network will be hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and comprise a list of interested organisations, the types of internships and mentorships they would like to offer, and a point of contact. This will allow universities and students to see the breadth of opportunities available and pursue arrangements with relevant organisations directly. Businesses and NGOs can register their interest online by visiting the NCP Internship and Mentorship website.

Visa advice for Australian students

Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs has provided the following visa advice for Australian students visiting Malaysia:

If you wish to undertake mobility, exchange or workplace learning (paid or unpaid) for under 3 months, you will require Social Visit Pass (SVP) to enter Malaysia. SVP for Australian is 3 months. Examples of this type of activity include summer programs or other short courses, study tours, project based study visits, volunteering (e.g. with non-government organisation), short-term research projects, or workplace learning with a Malaysia or international business. SVPs are issued on arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

If you wish to undertake mobility or exchange at universities in Malaysia (unpaid and academic program), for 3 to 12 months, you will require a short term Student Pass to enter Malaysia. We recommend you to apply your Student Pass well in advance of your visit through your prospective university in Malaysia.

If you wish to undertake workplace learning at companies in Malaysia (paid and practical program), for 3 to 12 months, you will require a Professional Visit Pass (PVP) to enter Malaysia. We recommend you to apply your PVP well in advance of your visit through your prospective companies in Malaysia.