Australia could face a drop of 50 per cent in the number of international students if the country’s borders remain closed, according to a report of Mitchell Institute at Victoria University named “Coronavirus and International Students”.
Data shows that there will be around 300,000 international students living in Australia by mid-2021, Erudera College News reports.
According to the report, the biggest cities in Australia are struggling with a significant decrease in the number of international students in different ways. In Melbourne, for example, the biggest decrease has been noted in the central city area, while in Sydney, the drop is more present across the city.
The author of the report, Peter Hurley, said that the country is facing the dual problem of fewer new international students, and those enrolled but who leave the country, claiming that the most affected regions are the ones which were populated by Chinese students.
“Future declines are likely to involve international students from all countries. This means the impact of falling international student enrolments will become more widespread,” Hurley said.
The report estimated that about 57 per cent, or an amount of $21.4 billion of the $37.5 billion in annual revenue related to international education, comes from the goods and services spent in the broader economy.
The report among others reveals that a halt in applications for international student visas has been noted, as the overseas applications are around 10-20 per cent what they were in 2019 at the same time.
“It seems wise to add how to the discussions, so Australia rebuilds with a more sustainable international student education model that delivers benefits for everyone, including international students,” Hurley said.
The drop in the number of international students in Australia due to COVID-19 is also shown by the fact that thousands of student apartments across Melbourne are almost empty.
Due to the pandemic and border restrictions, several universities across Australia have stressed they will be offering a discount of 20 per cent to international students who have been stranded abroad, pursuing studies fully online.
According to Hurley’s analysis, the education sector in Australia could experience in 2021 more struggles than it did a year ago, claiming that “the worst is yet to come with international students”.
However, he expressed optimism that in the longer term, there isn’t any reason why it should not renew.