The number of international students studying in Australia has already passed the half -million mark for 2018, new government statistics show.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said for the first time this early in the year, the data showed international student numbers had grown 12 per cent to 509,610 in the year to February 2018, on top of a 54 per cent increase over the past five years since the current Federal Government came to power in 2013.
That figure is expected to go higher as commencement for many higher education and vocational education and training courses typically take place in March each year.
“International education is going from strength to strength,” Mr Birmingham said.
“We’ve already seen more than 509,000 international students from over 190 countries flock to our shores this year. We’re on track to continue our record-breaking run of growth in international education.
“The broad diversity in the countries where we’re seeing the biggest increases in enrolments – like Nepal (54 per cent), Colombia (29 per cent), Brazil (27 per cent), India (17 per cent) and China (16 per cent) – highlights the work of the Turnbull Government’s National Strategy for International Education to ensure we’re supporting connections across the globe and in different regions,” he said.
Mr Birmingham said the Government is thankful so many international students choose to enhance their knowledge and skills in Australia, providing a richer and more diverse experience for both Australian students and other international students.
“International education is vital to the people-to-people links and knowledge sharing between Australia and the rest of the world,” he said.
The education sector also supports around 130,000 local jobs through tourism, retail and hospitality and recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown the value of international education jumped 22 per cent from 2016 to $32.2 billion last year,’ Mr Birmingham said.
He added that Australia is uniquely positioned to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive international education market.
“Students know we have some of the best education institutions in the world, they know how much we value the diversity of experiences and views they bring with them, and they know the quality of living and opportunities here are second to none.”