Australia: International Student Numbers Surge Despite Strict Visa Measures

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 04, 2023

Melbourne, Australia

Australian universities are experiencing a surge in applications from international students to study in 2024.

However, a sharp increase reported in visa refusals of non-genuine students is expected to slow the overall influx of students entering the country, Erudera.com reports.

The number of international students in Australia between January and August 2023 period reached 725,582, which is up 31 percent compared to the same period last year. China was the largest source of international students, sending 154,467 students to Australia.

As The Financial Review reports, universities said students' interest to enroll has continued to increase but at a slower pace.

Craig Mackey, Director of Corporate Development at IDP Education, disclosed to the source that IDP Education has tracked a 20 percent increase in the number of international students seeking to study in Australia next year. This comes after a 77 percent increase recorded last year.

But, the Department of Home Affairs has implemented a stricter oversight of visa applications, particularly in countries that have witnessed a large increase in non-genuine students moving to Australia last year.

Available data from June to September indicate a significant decline in student visa approvals from certain countries, including India, which is one of the main sources of international students in Australia.

The number of student visas approved for Indians decreased from 73 percent to 42 percent between June and September. Additionally, between January and August this year, the number of Indian students studying in Australia totalled 120,277.

Visa approval for students from Pakistan also dropped from 64 percent to 30 percent, the Philippines witnessed a decrease from 81 percent to 36 percent, and Nigeria from 71 to 29 percent within the same timeframe.

On the other hand, countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan recorded high approval rates, surpassing 90 percent.

While many universities have reported a huge interest from international students to study the next academic year, the high rate of visa refusals poses a significant challenge to institutions, particularly to private colleges that teach only international students.

Projections say the number of international students in Australia could reach 940,000 by 2035.

In 2022, over 600,000 international students are pursuing education in Australia. Of this number, 361,247 are enrolled only in higher education institutions, down from 365,714 the previous year.

The number has decreased by 12.5 percent from December 2020 to December 2021, specifically from 418,375 to 365,714 students.

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