Applications by international students from China, India and Vietnam have dropped by almost 40% in recent months due largely to changes in Australia’s visa system. Leading education agents have asked the government to step in and resolve the problem to make the process easier for overseas students.
Tony Pollock, chief of Australia’s leading international education and development organisation, IDP, said the decline was “significant”, and, “a real cause for concern”.
The drop follows in the wake of tighter visa rules following the student attack crisis and has even forced many privately run colleges to shut down due to a lack of applications, according to The Australian.
Pollock added: “It’s tougher to get a student visa, which means people are questioning whether they will ever get a (permanent) visa for Australia, and whether they should look elsewhere to get an education.”
It is also thought that the drop could be worth close to 600 million dollars to the Australian economy over the course of a full year.
India and China are two of Australia’s main sources of international students but tougher immigration and visa laws have been making it increasingly difficult for students to study in the country. Tony Pollock also believes that a lack of certainty about their future is also putting many students off applying: “Offering students the prospect of permanent residency – but only if they are sponsored by an employer – is a very uncertain outcome for those craving certainty.”
However, it is believed the drop may only be the result of a temporary loss of confidence and many believe the figures will improve next year. On the whole Australia is a very successful and popular destination for international students owing to the high standards of education available and the attractive lifestyle on offer.
The Australian Government is also set to be replacing the Critical Skills List, a guide for students seeking information about which skills were most in demand, with a revised Skilled Occupation List to provide a more targeted list of the skills required for the long-term future of the Australian economy.
Have you experienced any recent problems applying for visas to study in Australia? Would a tougher visa application process affect your desire to study in Australia? Let us know what you think.