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CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Huge increase in international students

Surge in fee-paying students

I wrote here back in 2015 that it wouldn't be much use just following demand for 457 visas if you want to understand Australian population growth beyond the end of the resources construction boom.

The reason for the blog post was that a dramatic uplift in international students was more likely to be the driver of changes in population growth.

We're starting to see the impact of the growth in students now with a massive 10.9 per cent or approximately 54,000 increase in the number of full-fee paying international students on a student visa to a total of 551,179.

When the final 2016 population growth figures confirm that Sydney and Melbourne are growing their respective headcounts at or close to a record pace, the first chart below helps to explain why.

The two most populous states each accounted for more than a third of the year-on-year growth in commencements at 35 and 36 per cent respectively. 


Looking at the figures for total enrolments which also increased by 10.9 per cent to 712,884 (students can enrol for more than one course), we can see that the great growth has been driven by students from China, and then India. 

There were also significant increases in enrolments by students from Korea and Thailand. 


The greatest number of new enrolments were seen in the higher education sector at 43 per cent, with Chinese students now accounting for 37 per cent of enrolments in that sector, while there was also strong growth in Vocational Education and Training (VET), and English Language courses (ELICOS). 

In the smaller numbers for the schools sector, Chinese students accounted for more than half of enrolments at 51.8 per cent. 

International education is now Australia's third largest export. 

Changes to visa rules in 2016

The government previously announced that from 1 July 2016 that there would be a series of important changes to the student visa programme.

There will now only be one visa class only for international students, subclass 500, and under the new streamlined process three quarters of applications will be waved through in less than one month.

International students with the requisite funds or income and English language skills will be able to apply for the new visa, including Primary School student applicants (from the age 6 or above) and their guardians or family members.

This represents a very significant shift in policy which I wrote about in a little more detail here