The number of international students who study in Australia have been increasing steadily over the past year. According to the latest information released by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, in the month of August 2018, 640,362 international students study in Australia. This is an 11% increase as compared to August 2017. Education is currently Australia’s third-largest export industry and the leading service export sector overall.
The top 5 countries where international students came from are:
- China (30%)
- India (13%)
- Nepal (6%)
- Malaysia (4%)
- Brazil (4%)
The breakdown of the international student enrolments in the month of August 2018 are as follows:
- Schools – 2%
- English Language (ELICOS) – 15%
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) – 26%
- Higher Education – 49%
- Non-Award – 6%
The Higher Education and VET sectors recorded the biggest increase in the number of international students, increasing by 14% respectively as compared to August 2017. The increase in international students studying in Australia could be partially attributed to the decline in the number of students going to the US or UK for studies.
According to a report published by the US Institute of International Education, the number of international students enrolling at US institutions dropped for the first time in September 2016. This is attributed to visa delays and denials, the costs of US higher education, the shifting social and political climate, competition from institutions in other countries, and prospective students’ concerns about securing a job in the US after graduation.
According to a report by the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency, the number of international students studying in the UK since 2016 is declining as well. This is partly due to the increasingly stringent British visa rules and a change in the post-study work offer. In the Indian press coverage, there had also been adverse coverage on the UK as being a study destination, which lead to a sharp decline in the number of Indian students going to UK.
Australia, on the other hand, has a more welcoming policy as compared to the US and UK which allows graduates to live and work in Australia after graduation. Eligible graduates will be able to apply for the 485 Temporary Graduate visa which will allow them and their family members to live and work in Australia for between 18 months to 4 years.
The weak Australian dollar, as compared to the US dollar and British pound also serves as a positive incentive for international students to study in Australia as the cost of study and living expenses relative to the currency of their home country is now more affordable.
Having international students is also beneficial to our domestic students as they internationalise the education that our domestic students receive. Our students learn alongside classmates from Brazil, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, to name a few. This enables them to gain insights and a more international outlook that will aid them in their career. The friendships forged can also lead to opportunities to live and work overseas.