Amidst ongoing Beijing-instigated hostilities and trade bans, Chinese students are still choosing Australian universities for higher education. However, there are continuing concerns that other countries with open borders, such as the UK and Canada could lure the Chinese students.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan says there are signs Australia’s education system continues to be a drawcard for Chinese students, despite the current political climate.
“All indications at the moment are that the Chinese students want to return to Australia to be able to study,” Tehan said on ABC radio on Thursday.
“We’re also seeing strong commencements online from Chinese students, and my hope is that everyone can understand the mutual benefit that accrues from Australia’s international education system.”
He continued saying he hopes to see the pipeline of international students start after Christmas.
The latest data from the Department of Home Affairs shows a drop of 60 percent in granted student visas to applicants applying from outside the country between July and Sept.
Despite the large drop, the number of successful Chinese applicants remained steady.
Australian universities rely heavily on the Chinese international student market and warned they face a significant drop in revenue due to border closures.
The international education market contributed $37.6 billion to the national economy during the 2018-19 financial year.
The Council for International Education met on Thursday to discuss strategies to reinvigorate the sector.
“Working towards the return of international students is a priority for 2021.” the council said.
“Co-operation between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the sector have advanced plans for the return of international students, when health conditions and quarantine capacity allow.”
Modelling from Victoria University’s think tank, Mitchell Institute shows if Australia’s borders remain closed, there will be a drop of around 50 percent in the number of international students living in the country by mid-2021.