Sydney’s Housing Crisis Deepens as International Student Numbers Soar

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Jul 07, 2023

Sydney, Australia

Thousands of international students are struggling to find accommodation in Australia as the housing crisis in the country intensifies.

Sydney is among the cities feeling the most impact of the growing number of international students, with tens of thousands returning to continue in-person learning, ending the remote learning implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Erudera.com reports.

NSW Minister for Housing Rose Jackson expressed concerns over the housing crisis, saying that it is a shared responsibility and universities should bear some of that responsibility.

“Universities absolutely do have a role to play to ensuring students have adequate housing,” Minister told the Sydney Morning Herald.

On the other hand, Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson told the same source that the sector is aware of the difficulties that everyone, including international students, must go through when searching for a place to stay anywhere in Australia.

Nonetheless, Jackson added students have been informed about accommodation options before arriving in the country.

New South Wales attracts the highest number of international students in Australia. Last year, there were 244,193 international students at universities in the state.

Australia is one of the most popular study destinations for international students, ranking the third choice in the English-speaking world, behind the US and the UK.

According to data from the Department of Education, there were 725,000 international students in the country in all education sectors in 2022, up from nearly 570,626 students who studied in the country in 2021.

Commenting on the matter, Australian Education Minister Jason Clare said it is the responsibility of the state and territory governments to make accommodation arrangements for international students.

Students have also reported that the rising cost of living and high cost of university in Australia, which is considered one of the most expensive countries for overseas students, have affected them, with many fearing poverty and homelessness.

Previously, student Zoe Jiang from China told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she paid $300 weekly for a shared house and slept in a pitched tent. These costs have forced student Stefan Djukic to leave Australia, where he lived until 2019, and pursue education in Europe, where many countries offer free education or at low cost.

“The overall cost of universities in Australia, when paired with the cost of living, just did not seem like the best option,” he told Erudera.

Australian authorities have modified regulations for student visa holders, limiting the working hours for the latter. Beginning this month, international students in Australia will be allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight.

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