Student visa numbers in Australia are at record levels. This shows that overseas students consider Australia as arguably the best destination for further study.
The raw figures tell the story. Some 486,934 overseas students were in Australia on student visas on June 30 last year. Not only was this the highest annual figure on record, it was a 10 per cent increase over the previous year period.
Just four countries — China, India, Nepal and Brazil — account for half of the total, according to the Department of Home Affairs.
In 2017-18, there were 112,297 Chinese students in Australia, a rise of 7.8 per cent over the previous corresponding 12-month period.
Student Visa Greatest Increases
But Nepalese students showed the fastest rate of growth of the four groups with a 54.9 per cent increase in their number to 41,696 as of 30 June 2018, then Sri Lankans up 22.9 per cent to 9898, Brazilians up 19.9 per cent to 20,349 and Colombians up 18.6 per cent to 12,627 and Indians up 18.3 per cent to 70,240.
Most of the rise in student visa applications stemmed from the vocational education and training sector, with higher education lodgements rising by 10.5 per cent.
The Home Affairs Department has reported a big increase in student visa applications for Indians and Nepalese already in Australia.
Apply for Further Student Visas
This indicated that such students were extending their stay once they got into Australia by applying for further student visas onshore, particularly in cheaper courses, the vocational sector.
Department statistics showed that last year about 193,000 student visa holders switched to another substantive visa, mainly the student 500 visa (38.3 per cent), the temporary graduate 485 visa (24.2 per cent) and tourist visa (20.7 per cent).
In 2017-18, the student share of net overseas migration to Australia had reached a record level of 44.3 per cent, or 104,872 students from a total 236,733 arrivals.
Additionally nearly 200,000 students annually switched to other visas to prolong their stay and ability to work in Australia.
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