The Return of International Students To Australia
In today’s blog, we will take a look at the return of foreign students to Australia and how it is affecting the university sector.
When Australia closed its borders due to the pandemic, foreign students were among the highly affected people. This not only interrupted the lives of the students but also put Australian universities in doubt as international students are a major source of revenue for them.
According to the latest data, foreign students are coming back to Australia. Since Australia reopened its borders to the world in December 2021, the number of international students in Australia has increased by more than 120,000. Student visa applications are also at record high levels.
However, not all universities are benefitting from the return of international students as it is the highly renowned and esteemed universities that are estimated to profit from this.
The latest federal budget 2022-23 also included the Labor party’s election policies to expand university places by 20,000 and offer 180,000 fee-free TAFE spots.
Let’s take a look at Australia’s international education policy, which defines where foreign students study and how much they will pay. This will significantly impact the funding for universities and TAFEs.
International Students Are Coming Back To Australia
Around 580,000 international students were living in Australia before the pandemic. When Australia started closing its borders to the world in January 2020, many foreign students had gone back to their native countries during their semester break. Due to this, thousands were stuck outside Australia.
Regardless of repeated attempts by governments and universities to bring them back to the country, present and new foreign students were mostly not able to enter Australia. The number of foreign students in Australia had reduced to about 250,000 by December 2021.
This decline ceased with the removal of travel limitations and requirements for quarantine for fully vaccinated non-citizens in mid-December 2021.
By October 2022, the number of foreign students in Australia rose back to around 370,000. Still, there are more than 72,000 foreign student visa holders outside Australia. Of these, around half are from China, who are still restricted by travel limitations in their home country.
How Can All Universities Benefit From The Return Of International Students?
The reasons for unequal benefits to specific Australian universities are quite complicated. Migration policy is interconnected with international education policy, meaning that all foreign students are temporary immigrants. The relative ranking of specific institutions and access to the labour market together affect the choice of the student. However, the importance of foreign students to Australia’s education sector and the benefits they bring are crucial. Looking for ways to ensure the advantages are distributed evenly would help the sector become fairer in the long run.
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