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Australian student visa applications drop by a third

Australian offshore student visa application numbers dropped by a third (33.5%) in the 2019-2020 financial year compared to the previous year, according to data from the country’s Department of Home Affairs, with an 88% drop in applications in May alone.

AustralianFewer international students will put some Australian universities under significant financial strain. Photo: Pixabay

"Applications from Nepal dropped by 60.7%"

Among the top source countries for students, applications from Nepal dropped by 60.7%,  India by 46.7% and China by 19.9%.

“Show students the sector is here to help”

Numbers from Brazil and Sri Lanka also dropped by around a third, and those from the US and Vietnam by over a quarter.

Speaking during a Q&A session, director of graduate and student visas at the Department of Home Affairs, Mathew Noble, said there were “significant impacts due to travel restrictions” and noted that China had been “a bit more resilient” than other top destinations.

Universities in Australia have regularly been warned about their dependence on international tuition fees as a source of revenue.

A recent report found they accounted for an average of 26.2% of revenue, and in some cases as high as 40%.

Anticipating fewer international students due to Covid-19 has led many to scale back spending – including shutting facilities – in an attempt to save money.

While the majority of the drop can be attributed to Covid-19, the data does, however, reveal that even pre-Covid, there were 9% fewer applications than in the same period the year before.

In terms of onshore student visa lodgement, there has been a 10% increase in the number of applications, with Nepal and India seeing increases of 36% and 39% respectively.

In contrast, Australia’s top source of international students, China, has seen a 7% drop in applications. The country’s government has recently warned that Australia is an unsafe destination for its citizens and the relationship between the two nations continues to deteriorate.

Writing for IEAA, IDP Connect CEO Andrew Barkla noted that Australia’s competitors “are opening borders for September start dates and signalling a pathway to employment through clear post-study work policies”.

While Australia has confirmed that online study will count towards post-study work permit requirements, the announcement came later than countries like the UK and Canada.

However, Barkla remains optimistic about the situation. “Our advice for governments and universities is simple. Show students the sector is here to help,” he said, advocating greater support for students with regards to organising flights and accommodation, reassuring parents and showing that measures are in place to mitigate safety risks.

“Our sector must provide students and their parents with clear, practical and aligned information and support, in market via onshore agents and other key enablers,” he continued.

“Let’s send a signal to the world Australia will do what it takes to continue to be a leading destination for international education.”

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20 Responses to Australian student visa applications drop by a third

  1. I have a wish to get a scholarship in this country and get a masters degree from this country and do anything in any field of life soo give me a response as soon as possible

  2. Hi my wife and I are Australian citizen my wife got her PhD with ( scholarship) from Griffith University in Queensland and she works for the Government she did Artificial intelligence degree, her background is math statistics computer and ect…
    She has a sister that is a real talent like herself this is two years since she applied for one year master degree and then PhD she paid the money to Macquarie university and she received the offer from them she applied for student visa but she hasn’t received it yet…!!
    The question is why?
    In the application form she’s clearly declared that her father and we are going to support her during her study so she is not going to have any financial problem.
    Why immigration makes it very hard? she is happy to receive the visa with her expenses go to Quarantine instead of 2 weeks 2 month…but this is not right waiting for almost 2 years!?
    She is a real talent like her sister Australia needs people like her ….

  3. You have to take practical solution for this problem.If it is your one of the main income government must find alternative pathways to continue this process.

  4. Mr. Andrew Barkla, inspite of this situation university itself is taking decision of rejection of perspective visa by asking leading questions with definite possible answers which may contradict the Gte requirement per say, even though if found useful for Australia a student can be asked to take up PR. Very surprising isn’t it.

  5. At this critical covid 19 situation of the world,in the whole world economy and spending power reduced. So this is the very clear reason to occur the prevailing situation in the educational sector of Australia and to promote it there are few measures to be taken by the University sector of Australia.
    Offer scholarships
    Offer to the students the career opertunities
    Plan their lives safe and go on even any risk happen in future.

  6. In the post study work visa, age restrictions should be removed. We are many onshore students here with experience, but over 50 need this exemption badly. We are funding ourselves, hence we came in late for studying. Please consider us.

  7. Yes! the overseas students applications percentage has fallen in 2019-2020 and would continue to follow this pattern in 2020-2021, till a vaccine comes into market and distributed world wide. The main reasons are:
    1. The worlide fear of PANDEMIC itself.
    2. Maj hit on income and profit levels worldwide discourage’s the overseas student sponsors to take any any decisions.
    3. Strict visa regime’s

    These factors will act adversely against overseas admissions and impact revenues for Universities in Australia and world wide, thus creating further unemployment’s in the academic sectors.

  8. My daughter went to swinburne University in Melbourne for her second year studies after finishing 1st year in Sri Lanka. Last February. And they finished first semester very successfully. So I’m very happy about University’s plans and support for students. And they have started second semester and use special techniques and softwares..so I’m very happy. I’m also a teacher.so I have very good understanding.

  9. Well I was unjustly denied visa in 2019, after spending heavily on application process (agency fee,medical fee, biometric fee,visa fee,documents fee,miscilleneous fee)all totaling close to 2000usd, I even lost 500aud during the process of school fees refund. I will discourage my generation to try Australia!!….anyways thanks all the same

  10. I don’t see why our universities have become so dependent on overseas students for their existence.
    Universities are simply the next level of education after high school.
    Their reason for existing is fundamentally and primarily to educate AUSTRALIAN children.
    It’s nit to contribute to the GDP and operate like a corporate entity. The fact that federal subsidies have been reduced over the last couple of decades , which is constantly quoted as the reason for increased numbers of international students, is something that they need to work through and find ways to lobby the government, lower their costs, find other ways of increasing their revenues.
    What is never publicised is the negatve imoact on the Aussie students and their education and university experience when the classes are mixed with students who have low English language skills and who do not participate in group work etc.- endless disadvantages to our children whilst the universities ignore all that and constantly look to full paying international students to boost their revenues. That’s just the easy way !
    (And this is not a comment on the international students per se. It’s a comment on our policy.)
    Really in an affluent and highly taxed country is that acceptable?

    • Dear basic Karen,

      Do you really think ausi universities would let international students in without a standard English test. As for the English you guys speak.. well i don’t think anyone outside of Ausi would agree that you guys speak English. And whoever comes there as a student speaks English as their second language. So basically they are bilingual and one step above you.

      Do you have any idea how your AUSTRALIAN children attend universities for a fraction of the cost of a international student ? No Right. That’s because the international students pay many times more to have the same education your AUSTRALIAN children is getting.

      Plus if you did’t have migrants you guys would still be thinking “slip a shrimp on the barbie” as the height of culinary delight.

  11. Hello blablabla, can you tell me the reason why you are rejected the visa and what makes you not to re apply. I might be of help.

  12. Its time to take initiatives to International Student’s back who are stranded Overseas due to the travel ban. What is our fault can government say? Are they all (international students ) infectious? Like me, many of us have been suffering in mental trauma that what will happen to us? Will we ever be there? As a first year student, I am feeling much difficulties to cope up with the studies virtually. Dream of studying abroad is almost fading away for me.

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