A Bright Future Seen for the International Student Industry

Joel Mayer is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. He writes professionally and for fun across a wide range of niches. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and collaborates with few companies and writes reviews.
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The number of full-paying international students for 2013 of 526,932 represents a 2.6% increase in enrollment compared to 2012. However, this is still a long way to go to the 7% annual growth rate of 7% that Australia has to attain if it wants to maintain its share of the international student market. In fact the 2.6% increase in 2013 is still very much below the average annual growth rate of 5.9% over the last 10 years.

According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report, after several good years that peaked in 2009, in the years 2010 through 2012 there was a sharp decline in the enrollment of international students in the country. This drop in enrollment was attributed to the following factors, among others:

  • Strict requirements for visa application
  • High value of Australian dollar
  • Strong competition from other countries

Where it hurts most

As noted in both the ABS and the Australian Education International (AEI) reports, the nationalities whose numbers declined considerably were from India, China, Nepal, and Pakistan among others. In fact the top 10 contributor countries which include these four countries had a 9.1% accumulated decrease in enrollment.

The sector that was greatly affected by this decrease in enrollment was the Vocational Education and Training (VET) which comprise 25.6% of total international student enrollment. VET showed a 6.4% decline in enrollment in 2012. VET enrollment is mostly from India, China and South Korea.

Reasons for an upbeat prediction

The outcome of the Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Frameworkwhich was released last 29 October 2013

by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is seen to boost the international student industry. The recommendations on the report were hailed by educational institutions and International Education and Migration Services  providers as a move towards progress.

The report embodies recommendations that will simplify the Assessment Level (AL) Framework for student visas starting March 22, 2014. The recommendations that are seen to impact significantly in the prospective increase in the number of international students in Australia are:

  • Recommendation 3: That the AL framework be simplified to comprise AL1, AL2 and AL3.

Benefited by this recommendation are former AL4 applicants. There are no known applicants for the AL5 level. AL4 visa applicants will now be elevated to the AL3 level. This means that the level of evidence for financial capacity, English language proficiency and previous study that they are required to provide will be reduced. This also means the removal of the English language test which is a requirement for English language study of AL4 and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) visa applicants.

  • Recommendation 4: That the financial requirement for AL3 applicants be reduced to 12 months evidence of funds with the condition that these funds be provided by a close relative of the applicant.


For AL3 level visa applicants, the financial requirement of 18 months was reduced to 12 months. This brings Australia’s financial requirement for international student visa in conformity with those of major competitor countries.

Enrollment to VET and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) is expected to increase considerably because of these two changes. Students from India, China, Pakistan, Nepal and more comprise a large majority of enrollment to VET and ELICOS courses. They were formerly in the AL4 level, but with the upgrade and the reduction of financial requirement they will now have a better chance to gain entry to the Australian educational system.


  1. @ Joelmayer

    I must say, this is a very good post. It’s very insightful for international students all over.
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  2. I am from India and most of them choose country like UK and some European country Lithuania over Australia because of the fees they have to pay in Australia. I would suggest to reconsider their fees structure to increase the flow of students.
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  3. In my opinion, high value of Australian dollar is the main cause of the decline application from international prospectous students to Aussie, because comparing to other currency exchange AUS is strengthen higher.

  4. I agree with your points, that the international student has a bright industrial future. This post is really nice and thanks for sharing this with us.
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  5. Thanks for this awesome write up. International students will surely get help and benefit from this.
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  6. Hello Joel,
    One more reason for the decrease in enrollment for Australian college is due to the rationalism with asian country students face their specially from INDIA, Most of the students now a days mostly from India prefer Canada for their higher studies…. due to the student life there is much better….

    Mine 2 words joel completely based on my personal experience….
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  7. Racism is one of the major concerns when you study in different country.
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  8. High value of Australian dollar is the main cause of the decline application from international students.
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  9. Well, things are not so easy when it comes to the international market, and we need to understand that thing, well, nice article.
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  10. That is so true.
    joelmayer recently posted…Employment Opportunities for International StudentsMy Profile

  11. hey,
    i think that australia is trying to catch up with the big countries, like the united states, and the uk. and the way to do that is only by growing its economy. in order for her to do that is by having a more open immigration policy, becuase a strong modern economy is based on immigrants.
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