India becomes prime international student growth market

In 2019, India emerged as Australia’s prime international student growth market.

As shown in the next chart, whose data comes from the Department of Education, new student enrolments from India surged by 35% in 2019, from 44,900 to 60,700:

While China still remained Australia’s biggest source of international students, new enrolments from China actually declined by 4,300 (-4.0%) in 2019.

Interestingly, the United Kingdom is experiencing a similar boom in Indian students. In 2018-19, student enrolments from India also ballooned by 35%, easily eclipsing all other source nations:

“Visa application numbers indicate that this growth will continue, suggesting that Indian student numbers are set to reach numbers not seen since 2011 in the coming years.”

The number of Indian students studying in the UK has been increasing rapidly since 2017 after a period of decline in 2012 following the closure of the post-study work visa.

However, in 2019, the UK government announced plans to reintroduce the two-year post-study work visa, heralded as a catalyst for the increase in UK Tier 4 sponsored study visas granted last year.

“We know that students in India, and around the world, will be encouraged by the announcement of the new two-year graduate visa route and we are working with the government to ensure that this is implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible,” Stern concluded.

As noted above, changes to the United Kingdom’s post-study working rights are behind the boom in Indian students.

Specifically, the United Kingdom last year matched Australia’s two-year post study work visa, thus making it a more attractive place to study:

The United Kingdom’s visa change has already raised concerns within Australia that Indian students could choose to study in the United Kingdom instead of Australia.

For example, the chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, said the following in September:

Phil Honeywood… said Britain’s reintroduction of a two-year post-study work visa “could be a game changer for a number of markets we have taken for ­granted”…

International education expert Rahul Choudaha said… “Students will be very likely to switch over to the UK”… He said the British visa would be particularly attractive to students because it offered a pathway to permanent residency.

Honeywood then followed up in October claiming the United Kingdom’s two-year post-study work visa was already diverting Indian students away from Australia:

Anecdotally, we are already hearing that large numbers of students from the subcontinent are switching their study destination intentions from countries such as Australia to Britain.

Therefore, while Indian student numbers are currently booming in Australia, there are strong doubts as to whether this will continue.

The picture is made worse by recent changes by the Department of Home Affairs, which classified Indian student visa applications as “high-risk”.

Under these changes, Indian student visa applicants are now required to demonstrate higher English-language proficiency as well as greater financial capacity, which should weed-out lower quality candidates and slow enrolment growth going forward (other things equal).

Several Australian tertiary institutions have already responded to the Department of Home Affairs’ changes by capping Indian student admissions, in addition to cancelling existing confirmation of enrolments.

Australia’s success in attracting Indian students was built around its relatively generous working rights and permanent residency. It now appears to be losing these competitive advantages.

Leith van Onselen
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      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        We get a lot of vibrants at the relations parties when they are getting right into the peak of things

      • Immigrants

        Migration has brought enormous benefits to Australia, adding to the vibrancy

        America’s immigration ‘dumping ground’ contributes to vibrancy

        Immigrants are critical to the vibrancy of American life

        Immigration. The secret to economic vibrancy.

    • lol – they’re both ‘migrantion agents’ taking their cut. Hopefully its a sign that things are drying up. Reading their comments its pure self interest.

      The move to Canada is due to Tredeau Senior (his father) who when in power essentially changed the law in Canada – so if one got in, the entire family can move over.

  1. So we bring in cheap labour from India whilst at the same time outsource transactional and IT roles back to India cos it’s cheap?
    You speak to anyone of any race, this place is being flooded by Indians

    • outsource transactional and IT roles back to India

      Although programming can be done offshore, an unlimited number of vibrants are allowed to come here, so they come here and program for $20/hour.

          • If they’re that bad it’s a problem that will find its own solution then. I wouldn’t lose sleep over it if I were you, Jacob.

        • billygoatMEMBER

          @Zaxxon yep. A vibrantia told my mum in tact this week that cost of living in Oz is so expensive. He is in 40’s and first time in his life he had to have a job – cos living in Oz. In India he can afford not to work & have good lifestyle…

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    This is great because Indians make good students and they are very compliant employees. I like them, except the girl ones because they think they are too good to ever do massage but they aren’t that good really.

    • OfficeboyMEMBER

      yes a kindly people , Westminster system , English rule of law ,
      1.4b of them and counting , were beholdent to only one asian partner , we own 3 of the most livable cities in the world .. and could engineer 300 more . Why we wouldn’t open up a shop front in mumbai and cut a deal with our colonial brethren is beyond me. Account for infrastructure contributions , cut a deal on fixing education. We would have a ballast for even a crunched property market as the dollar & bargains would have them come in and bouy is up.. and so on and so forth .. ambassadors ? .. the ex sussexes .. the new common wealth.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I was doing a plumbing Job for a James Ruse (NSWs #1 selective High School) Teacher years ago and we were talking about the very few Australian Born students that attend there now days.
        He said all the East Asian students were very respectful to him as a teacher but the Indian students were not.
        He related this funny anecdote to me about how on one occasion a group these Indian students walking down the corridor wouldn’t step out of his way (a regular occurrence according to him) and one of them slammed shoulders with him.
        After both cursed, this teacher , an Anglo fellow I should add, turned and said loudly “Sudra” (calling the boy the lowest cast of Indian)
        “NO!” the Indian student said angrily, hitting his own Chest a couple of times, “Brahmin” he said indicating his High Hindu cast ranking.
        The Geography teacher then gently taped his own chest a few times, looked the boy in the eyes, and replied,….”White”.
        Holly Sh!t, I said laughing, what happened next? did they report you?, I asked.
        “No way”, he said, “they live and breath all that class sh!t,… and White trumps Brahmin!”
        We both laugh again and I say “Jeez ya a bold cvnt mate”.
        He clearly accepted this as very High praise.

        • ErmPlum buddy,

          The Geo teacher, probably never realized that White, for that matter any color, never trumped anything. What with Gandhi having huge following across India helping in kicking the erstwhile British out of India. Here was a fella (Gandhi) who told the erstwhile British just to leave India without batting an eyelid. See Gandhi movie.

          • Frostilicus,

            The movie, where Ben Kingsley played the role of Gandhi and Richard Attenborough produced and directed the movie. From what I gathered, it was a British-Indian Co-Production, and it won 8 Academy awards (Oscars) including the best picture.

      • “Missy Brahmins”.

        Ha Ha Ha. I will remember this terminology all my life. Could not stop laughing for sometime. I am a Brahmin (Male).

          • A not easy to get girl. Most Indian girls I think are not easy to get anyways.
            They are not into Massage (There could always be exceptions. I says this as most things in this world have exceptions). They are more Marriage/Family/Helping the family/working hard in employment (that does not involve touching other Men) kind of girls. Indians by far are heavily into arranged marriage in any case.

            I think “Missy Brahmin” is a funny phrase. Made me laugh.

        • My Mrs holidayed in India a couple of years ago & stayed with DC mates in New Delhi. Wherever they went there were all these young self absorbed spoiled brat hotties done up to their bollywood nines, flouncing around thinking they’re Kim Kardashians. Every stop they were pushy & elbowed their way out front, essentially photobombing the rest of the crowd & taking a dozen selfies with all sorts of suggestive poses & pouts & hair brushings for their FB, while expecting the invisible ones to wait however long it took for the Missy Brahmins to finish their portfolio. That’s the name she came back with…… The DC’s were very camp Queens & I don’t think they thought they could ever be out staged, but they were. She enjoyed India, but couldn’t live there – too busy.

          • I guess there is quite a distinct possibility of this happening there.
            I was more talking about rest (majority) of the of Indian Girls. In fact only 34% (2017) of Indians live in Cities.

            In any case, I love the term ‘Missy Brahmins’ she coined and came back with. And Apt name too, for anyone that pushy.
            I am going to India to visit Family. I am going to share your wife’s New Delhi experience and the Phrase she coined. I am quite sure, they are going to laugh a lot.

            But one question here, what does DC stand for. I have no Idea, so I ask.

        • Diplomatic Corp. I like your description of them. She could see the class ethos pervading all too. 34% in the cities is a better balance than we have here I’m sure, but you might have better agricultural lands to support more rural living……..

  3. A problem that’s easily solved. Why go to the UK for a 2 year post-study visa when you could have a 4 year post-study visa in Australia? Fcuk it, make it 5 years! And we’re pretty short-staffed when it comes to identifying and acting on any overstayers too if you get my drift, wink wink.

  4. boomengineeringMEMBER

    Last WE had the R card held up by someone with a name rhyming with tirade for pointing out the need for new immigrants to be screened for diseases before entering Australia. At least improving it.

  5. John Howards Bowling Coach

    I would be interested to see the numbers on which origin nation of international student are the highest users of the ‘right’ to have a partner attached to their visa (given full work rights I believe). My observational view is that it is the Indian and Nepalese who are abusing the system the most through that back channel. In my last contract client site the IT team where all Indian on Visa support of some type and all had attached partners. I presume they were doing the same while on their student Visas…

  6. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Oh, and good on China with their successful long-term plan to influence the future decisions within western nations by influencing the functioning of western education institutions via sheer numbers. Gawd I love seeing the long-game in action. The weakness of western democracies, ie, western democracies themselves, is that their extremely short-term structure means nothing can be done. This is why we need to get rid of democracy as it is weak. Replace it with business leaders that want to just get sh1t done.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Replace it with a benign dictator, not any type of ‘business leader’ We’d end up with some fool like Willox and you’d kiss the nation goodbye within a month. Fair point on the long game though, albeit the end of each Chinese dynasty has been another revolution with the emperor having his head removed (sometimes literally). So while they want to play the long game they often end up dead sooner than they hoped. Also if you believe their current dictator is doing it for the good of their people, you haven’t been paying attention, he’s only in it for personal glory, none have ever been any different.

    • What’s wrong, Reusa. You don’t seem yourself.

      Have recent relations not been up to scratch? Have you run out of snow?