While there was “incredible growth” in some key markets, a 9% decrease in pathway ELICOS students on 2018 figures was countered by growth (7%) in independent ELICOS visas.
Overall, visa grants associated with an ELICOS course declined by 2% in 2019, according to the report.
“We’ve seen incredible growth from Colombia and Chile in 2019″
Much of the overall decline can be attributed to a significant drop in numbers of pathway visas from China (-18%), the report explained, suggesting there is a declining interest from Chinese students to include ELICOS in a study pathway.
The figures showed a similar story for Indian students with a 34% decline in pathway visas.
“Like China, most visas with ELICOS granted to India in 2019 were pathway visas and their decline was in spite of a 17% growth in all primary student visa grants, which suggests there is also a declining interest from Indian students to include ELICOS in a study pathway,” highlighted the report.
Conversely Vietnam, which also predominantly has ELICOS pathway visas, saw strong growth in both all primary visa grants (24%) and in visas with ELICOS (31%) in 2019.
Speaking with The PIE News, English Australia CEO, Brett Blacker, said there is a number of other countries showing strong increases.
“We’ve seen incredible growth from Colombia and Chile in 2019, two key markets that we’ve focused on as part of our work under the International Council for Education and its LATAM Working Group,” he said.
Over half of the growth seen in independent ELICOS visas in 2019 can be attributed to Colombia according to the report, with countries such as Thailand, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Mexico also making a significant contribution.
“China’s downturn is significant but the growth in these markets, and new markets like Mongolia and Nepal, shows how our sector is diversifying and bringing a better experience for all ELICOS students,” continued Blacker.
Diversification of the sector is also a focus for the federal government, with Federal Education minister Dan Tehan reportedly set to release a draft road map towards making Australia the “destination of choice” for aspiring English learners by 2025.
The strategy will set out a guiding framework to secure access to new markets and maintain the nation’s reputation as one of the world’s leading English teaching providers.