Indians push Australia’s international student numbers over half a million
There are now more than 62,000 Indian students in Australian higher education. Source: Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

For the first time more than half a million foreign nationals are studying at Australian universities, with a large number of enrolments from Indian citizens driving the population to record highs.

According to the Australian Financial Review, there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of student enrolments from India compared with 16 percent from China in the year to February 2018, bringing the total number of international students to 509,610.

There are now more than 62,000 Indian students in Australian higher education.

According to the Australian Embassy in New Delhi, the country is already the most popular destination for Indian students after the United States.

Under the administration of Donald Trump, however, fewer visas have been issued to international students. Students from India along with China – the country’s two most prominent student communities – have been hit the hardest.

In Australia, meanwhile, it would seem more student visas are being issued than ever before.

“The approach that the Australian government has to education is similar to what Switzerland has to tourism,” said Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education and skill development, KPMG in India, as quoted by Indian daily the Economic Times.

“US has visa restrictions; it is not even sure whether they want more people. Australia, on the other hand, is sending out a clear message: We want more people who are hungry, who can contribute to the economy. It will be a big pull factor as far as Australia is concerned.”

As far back as 2009, there were 120,913 Indian nationals studying in Australian education institutions from school to higher education level.

The Australian government says Indian students at all levels can easily transfer into Australian education system due to the similarities in both countries’ 10+2+3 education structures.

“Recent research conducted by IDP Education showed that Australia’s graduate employment outcomes are drawcards for students from India,” said James Cauchy, Regional Director Australasia, IDP Education as quoted by SBS Radio.

“Australia is also perceived as having welcoming visa policies and attractive, practical course content – which we know are important drivers of choice for international student.”

UNSW‘s Head of Corporate Communications Freya Campbell said that “one of the principal reasons is increased awareness of the high-quality education some Australian universities offer.”

“Especially those that are internationally ranked and have a strong reputation regarding both, teaching and research,” she said.

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