It’s official: No more Chinese international students Downunder

Via The Australian:

The highly lucrative six-year boom in Chinese students is over.

Australian universities now are focusing on the less-developed Indian market to meet budget expectations, exposing them to the risk of enrolling low-quality students with poor English.

Ahead of the release of official figures, a senior Department of Home Affairs official briefed universities last week telling them that visa applications from Chinese students were flat, even as numbers of applications from Indian students were growing fast.

We’ve been pointing to this slowing for some time:

It is interesting to speculate on why. The peak does coincide with deteriorating relations so it could well be a political maneuver by the CCP to ratchet pressure on Australia for concessions around Huawei, ANZUS and other Cold War 2.0 issues. If so then tourism may be the next shoe to drop.

But it might also just be that market forces have topped out. China is increasing its own pull on students. So are many other counties. The home country wants to keep more at home to protect the value of its currency as well:

The economic impact for Australia is nicely captured by the ABC:

Good luck replacing that growth with Indians short term though they will no doubt try, to the further detriment of the country, also at the ABC:

Dr Duncan Farrow, a maths lecturer and academic misconduct investigator, wrote that concerns about the international student intake were “widely held”.

He had written to senior management in June 2018, laying out the challenges he was encountering with those students.

“Perhaps the most telling statistic of them all: 48 of the 80 students admitted to the MIT in semester one this year had at least one academic misconduct finding against them,” he wrote.

“Not only was there a huge increase in numbers of misconduct cases but additionally the investigations were more difficult due to the poor language capabilities of many of the students involved.

“I have just reviewed the results for students from the Punjab region in BSC100 Building Blocks for Science Students and it is depressing. Of the 52 students in this category, 12 have passed the unit outright — a pass rate of less than 25 per cent.

“The above speaks to awful outcomes for this cohort of students who have travelled a great distance to study at our university. Too many of the students admitted to Murdoch are not ready for the course they have been admitted to.

“We are doing them a disservice by telling them that they are. The impact on their welfare and well-being must be dreadful.”

This has further implications for property as well. The build out and glut in apartments just got a lot more serious. Not to mention the pipeline for population growth. Though no doubt our creative elite will simply lower standards even further to attract the world’s worst to fill dog boxes and keep the pressure on lower wages.

To sum up, once again it is China that has done Australian living standards the greatest favour by pulling its flow of people Downunder while our own leaders couldn’t give a proverbial rat’s arse.


  1. The problem isn’t that many of these students have a less than good grasp of English, it’s that our lecturers aren’t learning to speak Chinese and Indian to cater for the needs of these vibrant people. It’s incredibly otherist of them.

    • do not be surprised if courses begin to be accredited in Chinese and Indian.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Love that new word …otherist …….now all we got to do is attach a phobia to it …otheristphobia ……now it will get well into the mainstream

    • User_SydMEMBER

      Indian is a language? Since when? Or for that matter Chinese?
      Oh the irony!

      • Well, I could have typed out the various dialects as they came to mind, Cantonese, Mandarin, Ping, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, but India has about 30 languages, China about 10, and I didn’t want to be otherist by leaving any out, so I was lazy and abbreviative. I realise now the hurt this has caused these various dialects, and as a result have decided to withdraw as a candidate in the upcoming election.

  2. Spoke to a labor fed mp about my concerns about population growth. He said we are the party that have a big heart.
    Asked him how we can decrease carbon with our world record pop growth and will these people use more water from our dams. No answer and talked about schools etc. I put him second last. Greens last.

  3. Most sensible people will be looking to send their kids to a good international uni (possibly a Chineses uni) than sending them to our progressive over-priced visa factories. The expensive degrees in flower arrangement will be left to our low socioeconomic kids that people like Big Australia Liz are happy to juice with a lifetime of debt for a bullsh8t degree.

  4. Edit: response to Daz la,..

    Hence why Labor, despite being called the “Left”, are actually centre right – they are not actually standing for workers, and are instead busy virtue signalling.

    Refugees? That’s different. Low paid, low skill worker floods? That’s working against the workers’ interests.

    My 2c

  5. Anecdotal evidence is just that, but interesting nevertheless. A friend of ours, whose child didn’t do advanced maths or science, had that kid offered a distance education bachelor degree at a top tier uni in a type of forensic science. (you know – because CSI). This was a full price degree, with all the HECS bells and whistles). There is essentially almost no jobs in this space, even for medical forensic pathologists, why are we subsidising this sh8t and why are we loading our kids up with debt for useless degrees?

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      Because the university is there to make money, and a graduate who finished a useless course can be sold another useless course..

    • morgs – I’m fairly sure that the federal plods see that sort of degree as an entrance level qualification. Might be the case for state police forces as well. I knew a lass who was doing a degree like that at ANU and was working her way through the black belt levels with the intention of joining the AFP (I suspect her aim in life was to throw herself between the PM and an egg chucker)

      • It probably would tick the box of having ‘a degree’ for that type of role. But it was specific and in all substance useless as the utility was negligible other than in in forensic science. Which still leaves the point, there are essentially no jobs that need this skill, and the child was not qualified to do this in any meaningful way. It was pure sales.

    • Morgs, prior to ~2003 a forensic undergrad could walk into a SOCO or similar job for state coppers or AFP – Two unis, about 60 graduates per year nationally, honours-level, TER of very high 90’s (IIRC, I was drunk most of the time).

      Now there are hundreds of vanilla forensic undergrads from maybe 12 unis, generic degrees, MUCH lower calibre students, and the same number of jobs. The entry-level lab assistants at the WA clandestine lab unit (privarised) are (were? It’s been a while) PhD’s. And bitter. And with way more ego than ability.

      Anyways, after the novelty wears out, forensics is sooooo boring.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Because if you don’t have a degree of some sort, you don’t get a job interview.

  6. NikolaMEMBER

    “It is interesting to speculate on why. The peak does coincide with deteriorating relations so it could well be a political maneuver by the CCP to ratchet pressure on Australia for concessions around Huawei, ANZUS and other Cold War 2.0 issues. If so then tourism may be the next shoe to drop.” – I’ve been saying this for while now.

    Biggest impact will be the loss of reputation but our Universities don’t seem to care about right now. It appears the only focus is to cram as many bodies as possible in order to make quick buck.
    It is easy to ruin your own reputation. It can be done in very few short years. Trying to rebuild it will be almost impossible. Once top lecturers start leaving to other countries game over.

  7. Yep. I posted here last year that the number of Chinese students at my campus was down, and teachers were having their hours cut.
    Early signs of a slight uptick in Japanese and Taiwanese students.

    • Well instead of being colonised by Chinese arriving here on the overseas student visas in 5 years time, it will be 10 years time?

  8. Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

    Any relationship to the Aussie real estate market topping out and/or becoming less welcoming to foreign investors ?…..

    The gap can easily be filled by students from other markets, you just need to lower standards a bit more.

  9. First impressions was how could this be a bad thing? Then it did; the universities will now go grovelling cup in hand for Indian students. Frying pan meet fire.

  10. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “The highly lucrative six-year boom in Chinese students is over.
    We’ve been pointing to this slowing for some time:”

    You then show a graph that shows Students from NE Asia still being double that of any other category.
    How is a plateauing of Growth in numbers equal an end to “Chinese students Down under”
    Half the current Student Visa numbers would still be to many.

    • GramusMEMBER

      They are getting way way ahead of themselves.
      Believe it when you see it.

  11. So Chinese speak better English than Punjabis?

    I’m regularly seeing and hearing of expensive private schools doing student tours of US universities, as perhaps the students can converse with each other in English there?

    • Chinese students have poor English language skills compared to the Punjabi students who are recruited into Higher Education.

  12. China: average IQ 105, students 50% female

    India: average IQ 85, students 30% female

    This is bad.

    • not only this, the national VET regulator ASQA had 127 matters on appeal at the AAT in the fourth qtr of 2018, 97% of those matters were for adverse decisions made against RTO’s owned and managed by Punjabi’s…..really makes you think.

    • But think of all the extra uber drivers we’ll have! And middle aged oz fatties will be able to find someone to cuddle them at night, isnt that right jonno?

  13. TailorTrashMEMBER

    All those Chinese students that can get a crap degree and then hang in long enough to get the lolly easy Strayan citazenship will be useful
    ……even if they go back to China ….their votes will be consolidated ,coordinated and directed ……can’t see the CCP cutting off this hidden beach head into Straya

  14. St JacquesMEMBER

    hahahaha Going for the Indian market means the cough “Australian education” business is going down market. In reality it’s all about Australian RE losing it’s allure to the Chinese who have a strong momentum player streak, whereas Indians have a very decidedly bottom feeding or bargain basement streak in their approach to things. These are big generalizations, because as one can see at the moment, lots of small Indian investors in peripheral housing land are getting the squeeze, but that’s my interpretation. Also it means “cough Aussie education” is getting rerated DOWN DOWN DOWN in the world. Increasingly, having an “Australian” related degree is increasingly becoming something of a bad joke and to be avoided. THE PONZI HAS EATEN THE GOLDEN GOOSE AND IS NOW EATING ITSELF HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • NikolaMEMBER

      “Also it means “cough Aussie education” is getting rerated DOWN DOWN DOWN” – and to get the reputation up will take 10 times longer than to destroy it for few more quick $$$. This is truly race to the bottom – sponsored by neo liberal policies of greed.

  15. DingwallMEMBER

    “to meet budget expectations” … although bonuses for the chancellor and their cronies is the aim

  16. Can anyone explain the nepalese component? I was under the impression Nepal was a relatively small, poor nation. How do they comprise the third highest number of our international students? Does the Nepalese govt pay their fees?

    • the Nepalese Consular-General’s in Melbourne and Sydney respectively own Registered Training Organisation’s.

    • Really hard workers that you can pay on the cheap – bar and restaurant owners love them

      • @swifty I think those bars and restaurants are owned by the Nepalese Consular-General’s as well.

    • I posted about that earlier. A population of 29 million people, one billionaire, and a disproportionately large number of foreign “students” in AUS.

      The “students” are in for a shock when they get deported. Something has to give – either they get deported or “students” from other nations get deported.

      • @jacob no one gets deported, the students who arrive here never go back! They simply hop from one course to another until they meet the criteria for permanent residency.

    • Prometheus69

      Also … instead of 4 people in a one bedroom apartment, we will have 6-8.

  17. MatthewMEMBER

    Why the drop in Chinese numbers?
    Student visa grant rates for China (figures below) have been declining for a number of years now, ever since stricter measures were adopted by the Department of Border Protection and Immigration to weed out non-genuine students:

    2016/17 = 78%
    2017/18 = 73%
    2018/19 = 67%

    So, I’d say it’s a combination of things. First and foremost, actions taken by the DIBP. Add some politics and market forces to the mix and there’s your answer.

    • GramusMEMBER

      There is no drop in numbers. Numbers of Chinese students are exploding. They suggest the potential for a future leveling off… no reduction.

      • According to a Chinese academic friend, Australians are largely regarded as fat and lazy, and our universities are already bottom choice, with most students preferring China/ Singapore/ Us and Uk.
        Kids come to Australia if they can’t get in somewhere better.
        The social control of those students is pretty intense.
        Despite that, l have it from a Monash staff member that Monash wants to see( and is recruiting) 5-10,000 extra students in every year over the next 5 years( so 25,000 extra in five years- currently around forty thousand;was thirty thousand about 6-7 years ago).
        More than one faculty have been told they are failing too many students- the administration requests that they lower their standards so these students get what they are purchasing is the implication.
        It’s a disaster really, and undermines the efforts of other really bright and hardworking students.

  18. The bar chart (ABC) as ‘international student export income per annum’.
    152,712 Chinese $11 billion = $72,000 each
    72,050 Indians $3.8 billion = $52,741 each
    38,279 Nepalese $1.6 billion = $56,479 each

    Can someone explain what is the ‘export income?
    Eg the actual money Australia received from outside of Australia for something sold or traded.

    First of all these numbers are enrollment data & only international students.
    The foreign students and their partners are a much wider group of numbers and enter on a wide variety of non resident (temporary resident) visa categories. Visa categories include International student, post grad, special visa, DFAT & scholarship visas.

    There were 672,000 non resident ‘foreign students primary visa & partners on secondary visas’ in March 2018.
    In March 2019 based on the DHA quarterly reports the number the number of foreign students & partners onshore has grown by 5.9% and is now 712,000.

    Of this 159,000 (post grad etc) & partners have full work rights.
    The rest are doing very low level courses, many with no international accreditation, and available in their home country at much lower cost or free online globally.

    The Enrollment data is also inaccurate as a foreign student can be enrolled in multiple or no courses during a year & it doesn’t include partners on the secondary visa.
    The total fees paid by all foreign students in 2018 was $8.3 billion / 653 foreign student primary visa holders = $12,710. 8-9 Months of actual study as the courses are designed to maximise legal working breaks as well after illegal work = $3k a semester.
    Source: Deloitte Access Economics
    See Mode 2 Fees : $4.7 billion – $5.7 billion
    Page 74 footnote 24 hidden down the bottom.
    And now with the growth of numbers est at $8.3 billion) which matches to the costs & profit taken by providers in delivering the ‘education service’.

    Some pertinent facts on how these fees are paid.
    The Chinese foreign students & partners enter on ‘self declared funds’ no checks and only a first semester paid.
    The Indians & Nepalese have to provide proof of a sponsor or funds, ($28-33k) & this made by arrangement with the the agent racketeer / loan shark, again only a minimal first semester payment made & then the funds whisked out and never checked again.
    All their other income is earned here.
    Legally in partial work rights
    Legally in the very long breaks
    But mostly illegally with no tax paid.
    75% of the 552,000 with only part time work rights or 414,000 also work illegally. (Sydney Uni & UTS study SMH reports)

    So if the vast bulk of the money for just their fees is earned, and spent here in Australia by these onshore temporary resident foreign students & partners / where exactly is the export?

    A fair chunk is then sent out as agent loan debt repayments & family remittances as our exploding foreign exchange outflows show.
    So it’s all negative actually.
    Then add in Australian unemployment impacts of st least 500,000 Australians & PR of the 1.3 million unemployed & 1.1 million seeking work displaced by these foreign students (-$9.3 billlion), lowered wages (tens of billions), housing impact (tens of billions) education quality impact, congestion, overloaded transport road & public infrastructure and degraded education- and it’s all many tens of billions negative.
    At least $30 to $40 billion NEGATIVE.

    Each foreign student creates a negative impact to Australia of some $40,000 negative.
    Not an ‘Export Industry’ at all.

    A negative import.