An increasing number of Asian students are staying on as migrants in Australia after they complete their university studies, creating a net 'brain gain' for the country, according to Federal Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone. Ms Vanstone said this week that 36,700 temporary residents, mostly foreign students, were allowed to remain last year. Two-thirds of the students came from Hong Kong, the mainland, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea. Almost half were qualified in information and communications technology, and about a quarter had graduated with accounting degrees. Engineers were the next largest group. Under changes to immigration regulations in 2001, foreign students could apply to remain in Australia if they found a skilled job within six months of completing their course. But, after a huge surge in applications, the government twice tightened restrictions. The failure of the foreign graduates to return home represented a 'brain drain' to their countries whereas Australia was enjoying a 'brain gain'. A study by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Australia was experiencing a continuing net inflow of mathematicians, chemists and science-based professionals. 'The situation in Australia is that PhD graduate numbers have increased sharply in recent years and most of these graduates are former students who have stayed in Australia,' the study said.