In February this year Australia’s population reached 24 million, much sooner than predicted, thanks partly to a thriving education industry bringing students from all over Asia. Increasing numbers of foreign students, especially from India and China, are contributing to a A$20 billion industry – currently Australia’s most valuable service-sector export.
This population milestone was reached just before 1am on 16th February, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) ‘population clock’. It follows the ABS recording its highest net overseas migration figure of 53% in 2014-15, which reflects the increasing flow of incoming overseas students.
Australia increasingly popular as study destination
Around 3,000 international students from 62 different nationalities gathered at Bondi Beach last month to set a record for the world’s biggest English lesson. This event was organised to draw attention to Australia as top tertiary study destination.
Income levels are steadily rising in Asia and families looking for a good quality schooling for their children are sending them to Australia. Student visa holders increased by 10.2% during 2014-15. According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, over a third of these visa holders came from China and India.
Many of these students remain in the population count as they enter the country on student visas and later take up permanent residency.
What’s fuelling the booming education industry?
Analysts say this industry in Australia has benefited from a simplified student visa application process and the weakening of the Australian dollar.
In recent years the student visa framework was replaced with Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP). The SVP system allowed certain prospective students from participating institutions to benefit from reduced evidentiary requirements.
Last year the Government also announced the introduction of a Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF) to support Australia’s education services sector.
The new SSVF will come into effect in July this year and will replace Streamlined Visa Processing. The most important changes are:
- A reduction in the number of student visa subclasses from 7 to 2 when the SSVF takes effect, and;
- The introduction of a single immigration risk framework under which all international students will be assessed, regardless of whether they are applying for university degrees, VET diplomas, English-language studies, or other programmes.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection states that these changes are ‘designed to make the student visa framework simpler to navigate for genuine students, deliver a more targeted approach to immigration integrity and create a level playing field for all education providers’.
This change to the student visa framework represents another plus point for Australia’s prospective international students. The DIBP estimates that under the new system around 15% more international students may have access to reduced evidentiary requirements compared with the current framework.
Find out more about your visa options
Australia’s education boom looks set to continue. Whether you’re considering a university course in Australia or already studying here and thinking about the future, FastVisa can help with all your visa requirements.
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