Australia: International Student Numbers in Victoria Might Not Recover Entirely Until 2025

Victoria’s authorities believe that the overseas migration and the number of international students will remain lower until the mid of 2025, compared to numbers before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

The state budget has predicted that international students who have earlier contributed to the state’s economy with an amount of $14 billion annually, are expected to gradually start returning to the state at the beginning of 2022, reports.

In the meantime, the Department of the Treasury pointed out that more delays on reopening the borders and the global vaccine rollout pose a “key downside risk” for the budget.

Victoria is looking forward to the federal government agreeing to pay for its quarantine accommodation proposal in Melbourne’s north with no amount of money allocated beyond the $15 million already spent on the proposal.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said he had an “incredibly positive” conversation with the Morrison government regarding the proposed building at Mickleham. Whereas, Thursday’s budget did not reveal how much money Victoria will spend on hotel quarantine during the next months. Since last July, the program reached the amount of $442 million, to the end of March 31.

According to Pallas, Victoria’s plan to return 120 migrant workers and students weekly has been waiting for Morrison’s government’s confirmation, adding “we are largely at the control and behest of the Commonwealth on this.”

“We’ve put a proposal to the Commonwealth … so we can give a demonstration to our university sector that we are coming up with solutions to assist them in what has been a desperately difficult time for them,” Pallas emphasized.

According to Equity Economics lead economist, Angela Jackson, migration and international education are very important for Victoria’s economy and might pose a significant risk compared to the rest of the country if the state’s expectations happen to be “over-ambitious”.

“The shocks to trade, overseas migration and business confidence [would] reduce Victoria’s gross state product by a peak of about 1 percent in 2022-23 and by 0.9 percent in 2024-25,” the government noted in budget papers.

The federal government has called on all states and territories to present proposals on international students’ quarantine this year. Since 2019 when the international education sector was worth $13.7 billion for the Victorian economy, enrolments at higher education have dropped by 41 percent.

A recent survey by the Council of International Student Australia (CISA) survey has revealed that 93 percent of Australia’s international students stranded overseas who continue to study remotely have reported mental health issues due to this way of learning.

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