Educating international students has earned Australia a record $20 billion last year, spiking 13% from the previous year. The latest figures firm up education’s position as Australia’s third-largest export after coal and iron ore, as well as its position as the largest services export, well ahead of tourism, according to a report in The Australian Financial Review.

The lower Australian dollar together with a relatively easier student visa processing program has made an enormous impact on Australia’s education export sector. The total spending by international students in Australia – including course fees, accommodation, living expenses and recreation – was $19.2 billion in 2015, up from $17 billion the previous year, according to figures released by Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this month.

At the moment there are about 650,000 international students in Australia, 10% more than the previous years. Over 270,000 such students are enrolled in higher education courses and the number of undertaking vocational education is shot-up 14% to 170,000 in 2015.

A 10 cent fall in the $A has led to a 2 per cent rise in the number of new international students enrolling in universities, explained Professor Frino, deputy vice-chancellor (global strategy) of the University of Wollongong. He predicted that in 11 years’ time, universities alone could have half a million international students enrolled.

Student visa refusals and cancellations are however on the rise particularly for students from India, Nepal and Vietnam. Inadequate visa applications by unqualified brokers which fail to properly address the genuine student criteria is often cited as the reason why so many applications from these countries are failing. The department of immigration cancelled a record 11,000 student visas in the last financial year, which is a 30 per cent increase in the number of cancellations from the previous year.

Content sourced from Migration Alliance.