More foreign students choose Australia as their destination

A group of students

More than 74 000 international students have applied for Australian visas during 2013. This is the highest number in the last five years and shows that Australia again has become a preferred destination for international students after the country suffered a temporary decrease in popularity.

Australia became extremely popular as a destination for international students during the first decade of the 21st century. In 2002, 274,000 international students began to study in Australia. In 2009 there were more than 500 000 students coming from abroad.

This was in general welcomed by many Australian citizens by at the same time created worries that some of those people might use their student visas to access the Australian labour markets.

At the same time, an Australian government report showed that there are some educational institutions in the country have been designed not to provide quality education, but to collect fees from foreign students, providing them with a pathway to immigration.

As a result of this, the then-prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard increased the student visa fees and made the application process more stringent and restrictive. In addition to that the global financial crisis in the combination with the rising Australian dollar led to a further increase of the incoming foreign students to Australia.

The Australian government, however, tried to reverse the trend. In October 2013, the Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, and the education minister Chris Pyne announced that students from a number of key markets would be able to apply for a student visa with up to $A40 000 less in the bank’.

Greg Evans of Universities Australia told that the number of students coming from India is up with 7% in 2013 and the number of applications from Nepal by 29%. And from Vietnam by 49%. He said that he believes that the sector can recover to reach the level it was at before 2009.

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