Overseas student enrolments in Oz may fall by 20%

Australia`s international education sector can lose up to 2 billion dollars in revenues as overseas student enrolments, including from India.

Melbourne: Australia`s international
education sector can lose up to 2 billion dollars in revenues
as overseas student enrolments, including from India, are
expected to fall by over 20 per cent following new visa
changes and rising competition from North America and Britain.

The country`s international student recruiter IDP chief
executive Tony Pollock claimed that changes to visa rules and
priority skills were being made without giving the industry
time to adjust, according to `The Australian`.

Pollock said international placements into Australia
across IDP`s network were down 37 per cent in April compared
with a year ago, with current Indian demand almost wiped out.

He said the Australian High Commissioner in India had
told his staff there that the number of student visa
applications they had on hand had crashed to just 200,
compared with 8600 a year ago.

Australia`s international sector is also witnessing a
rising competition from North America and Britain, the report
According to the Department of Immigration, its latest
application figures for the nine months to the end of March 31
show that applications from Indian nationals are down 47 per
cent at 23,601.

Among the possible reasons for the drop in student
enrolments from India was a series of attacks on Indian
students across Australia.

International student fees have become a key revenue
source for universities following decline in government
funding, accounting for more than 15 per cent of revenue.

"The government`s desire to clean up the industry is
entirely admirable, but they have made the changes so abrupt
that there is little time for the kind of structural
adjustment that is necessary in any big change of this nature,
both for the students and the institutions," Pollock said.

Department of Immigration spokesman said the changes to a
more "demand-driven" immigration programme had been signalled
as far back as early 2008.

"The recently announced changes to skilled migration
remove incentives for students to seek permanent residence
through low-quality education courses, a practice that damaged
the integrity of both the migration programme and the
education industry," the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Julia Gillard said
the sector was well placed to weather the changes.

"The introduction of the new Skilled Occupations List
will require a refocusing for some education and training
providers, but we believe the market is well placed to
continue as a world leader in international education
services," she said.


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