International student numbers to halve, and that’s a good thing

The Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy at Victoria University has undertaken analysis for Fairfax, which forecasts that the number of international students studying in Australia will more than halve by January 2022 from pre-pandemic levels:

International student enrolments

The number of international students living in Australia are projected to more than halve.

The Mitchell Institute argues that this reduction in student numbers will have a devastating impact on university finances as well as Australia’s trade balance, with education exports projected to fall by $18 billion from their pre-pandemic peak:

Education exports

Australia’s education ‘exports’ are forecast to fall from a pre-pandemic peak of $40 billion to $22 billion.

As an aside, I have previously debunked this dubious “$40 billion” education exports figure, which is wildly exaggerated.

The Mitchell Institute also argues that the loss of international students will have a devastating impact on Australia’s CBDs, whose businesses have become heavily reliant on the spending and labour from international students.

It is important to note that halving Australia’s international student numbers would merely move Australia more into line with similarly developed nations whose concentrations of international students was less than half of Australia’s in 2017:

International students concentration

Australia’s international student concentration was extreme.

Even if Australia’s international student numbers were halved, it would still have the highest concentration of foreign students in the developed world.

The costs of Australia’s international students obsession is also never taken into account, including the degradation of entry and teaching standards, which has badly eroded the quality of education provided to domestic students.

This erosion of quality is evidenced by:

  • The dramatic increase in the number of students to academic staff;
  • Domestic students being forced into group assignments with non-English speaking foreign students, thus acting like unpaid tutors that cross-subsidise their marks and help them pass; and
  • The massive increase in cheating by international students.

On these points, honorary Deakin academic, Louise Johnson provides the most salient insight to Fairfax:

[Johnson points] to a “cancerous” cycle of chasing foreign student fees to fund the research volumes needed for global rankings aimed at securing yet more international students.

COVID aside, she says, too much teaching is now online, impersonal, inferior and left to an increasingly casualised, overworked and exploited sessional staff…

“Some [international] students have been fabulously engaged. But I’ve also had cohorts in my class who had no idea what I was talking about, couldn’t read what I was asking them to read, and who certainly could not write in a way that I regard as university standard.”

The sad reality is that Australia’s universities have become key players in the edu-migration con, where they ‘clip the ticket’ and earn fat fees on international students seeking work rights and permanent residency.

Our universities must be brought to heel and forced to return to their primary purpose of educating Australians, not behaving like migration ‘middle-men’ selling low-quality degrees for maximum profit.

Halving international student numbers, so that they more accurately reflect developed country norms, is a good start on the road to reform.

Unconventional Economist


    • David WilsonMEMBER

      Agree 100%, now all we have to do is add a 25% tax on all property purchases by those that are not Australians to stop the ridiculous increase in our property values.

  1. I will argue here that there are less than 65,000 genuine higher Education post graduate foreign students in Australia that comply with their visa and condition of entry (CoE).

    The other 700,000 or so?

    Third world unskilled migrant guestworkers trafficked in on a long stay/ permanent stay course & visa churn that create massive social and economic impact to Australia.

    And I will pull apart the big lie – that foreign student education is Australia’s third-largest ‘export’ —behind only iron ore and coal—with more than 700,000 international students enrolled last year, bringing about Aus$32 billion (now its $40 billion!) into the economy.

    This big lie was originally propagated by a Deloitte Access Economics propaganda puff piece back in 2015 paid for by AustralianEducation Gov & extrapolated from the then $18 billion ‘gdp’ by student numbers to now $40 billion ‘gdp’ by the shameless foreign student industry lobbyists.

    👉🏾GDP contribution onshore from money earned here is not an export.

    Fees back then in the Deloitte Access Economics study were $8 billion.
    Human capital value $8 billion (it assumes they all get PR and stay).
    Parents & relatives coming to stay $2 billion.
    And all the other larded up nonsense and lies to a $18 billion, $32 billion and now $40 billion nonsense figure.

    With a target in a follow on Deloitte Access Economics paper also commissioned by Aust gov – of over 1 million foreign students and partners by 2025!

    Let’s fact check the real social & economic impact of the foreign student racket.

    👉🏾Foreign student education in Australia is not an ‘export’.

    This myth is based on an Australian Education Gov ‘paid for’ pro propaganda paper published by Deloitte Access Economics & embellished since.

    Facts are:
    In December 2020 there were 823,000 foreign student visa holders with 772,000 primary visa holders & 65,000 so called partners on secondary visas in December 2019 & and estimated total of 765,000 now.

    The majority who work illegally (refer to fact check previously published in the media that over 75% work illegally – Sydney Uni & UTS studies 2018-2019.)

    Many who in 2020 attended no classes at all, or pretended to under the guise of covid-19 and ‘online learning’ to dramatically increase their illegal work.

    The majority of foreign students and partners enter on self declared or falsified funds (borrowed / bank statement / money whisked our for the next one) and only pay the first semester.
    Fact check : DHA / ABF declared funds of less than $2 billion for all TR intake, mostly self declared or easily frauded with once off loans / bank statements.
    The vast majority of foreign students enter Australia in loan debt to an agent procurer/ trafficker, only paying the bare minimum of the first semester and even that money is borrowed.

    The foreign students and partners occupy at least 617,000 Australian FTE jobs. Often working both legally and then illegally to repay agent procurer debt and send back remittances.

    Creating at least 600,000 Australian unemployed that costs over $17 billion in Centrelink payments to unemployed Australians.

    Our welfare payments to the Australians made unemployed by the foreign students working illegally – that alone exceeds the entire foreign students ‘fees paid’.

    Our foreign remittances outflow from foreign students and partners has increased from $2.3 billion (2009) to now over $8 billion (2019 World Bank remittance outflows 2019). And that’s just the official money Xfer channels. Another $5 billion is estimated to be sent out by the migrant foreign nationals on temporary visas foreign run / unmonitored web & alternative xfer mechanisms.

    To China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, and other third world countries of origin.

    Debt repayments to the foreign agent trafficked and then to their foreign family.

    The foreign students & partners are not here for the ‘education’ – that’s just the visa pretext to live & work illegally.

    Remove their work rights and enforce it & over 600,000 or more would be immediately depart.

    They have no funds, most are in debt, a poor unskilled migrant labor underclass that live week to week & work illegally. The courses are nonsense, 4 years ‘study’ for English, or low level easily cheated pseudo education, often without any international recognition.

    The foreign students and partners casualise jobs & lower wages for all Australians including our youth & mature age.
    Costing tens of billions more.

    The foreign students and partners occupy at least 150,000 modest Australian established dwellings (5 or more per dwelling).

    Where do people think they all live and how?

    They live in vast fetid third world migrant ghettos in our main cities, occupying Ex Australian modest dwellings now foreign owned and converted to cash in hand sublet migrant only bunkshare.

    Little or no landlord income is declared, or else it is minimised – and negative gearing then claimed by the usually PR foreign national who runs the migrant slum share.

    Creating massive housing contention and cost impacts to all Australians – with now 116,000 Australian permanent homeless and another 340,000 Australians seeking affordable housing.
    Costing another $4.2 billion a year in Australian taxpayer support.

    Job loss, wages loss and housing loss are all direct and tangible correlations of the foreign student & partner economic and social impact to Australians.

    The foreign students have massively increased the cost of Australian education for Australian youth – as the university’s, colleges, institutes and academies all prostituted themselves as a visa alibi for migrant guestworkers.

    Tens of billions of current and future social and economic impact as Australian youth are denied education & opportunity.

    👉🏾A huge economic and social burden.

    Fee income sources.
    Total fees paid 2019 – $14.5 billion.
    Paid primarily from money earned here.
    ‘Fees’ earned onshore at least $12 billion.
    75% work illegally. (Many studies support this)
    👉🏾Not an export at all.

    The foreign students and partners are the epi-centre of foreign criminal migrant trafficking syndicate, money laundering, vice and criminal activity.

    As example the Australian vice industry is now exclusively run by Chinese, North Asian and North East Asian criminal syndicates with over 50,000 foreign students or partners as their stock in trade.

    Educational achievement?

    In 2015 the Government report ‘Migrant Pathways a Decade on’ noted the vocational attainment of foreign students into a professional vocation with a higher than average income (Australia if they secured a PR or back in their country of origin).

    It was 3.9%.

    Yes you read that correctly.

    96% of foreign students and partners after ‘study in Australia’ often 6-8 or more years with course churn & visa extension..
    96% fail to achieve a higher than average income either in Australia or their home country.

    Exposing just what a farce this so called education is.
    We are not importing human capital value.

    We are importing third world mature adult unskilled useless migrant guestworkers, recruited from the slums and rural areas of the third world, trafficked in on a pretext ‘education’ visas alibis to do nonsense courses..

    so they can live & work illegally here as part of a now 2 million strong foreign national TR migrant guestworker underclass.

    👉🏾Less foreign students is a good thing for Australia.

    It’s a reduced import cost and social impact burden.

    Finally – if Australia had the same rules as the UK, US or say China for a foreign student.
    These include rules such as:
    🔻No work rights
    🔻No partners
    🔻Proper Health Checks – onshore Doctor check.
    🔻Full course fees paid in advance from offshore & no refunds
    🔻Proper checks on their housing, no 8 Chinese students working illegally in a fetid 2 bed unit bunk share paying cash in hand rent not declared to a Chinese criminal who bought that Australian home unit with dirty money.
    🔻No vice (yes it’s legal in NSW for a foreign student to work in vice)
    🔻Reporting to the local police station monthly to declare all activities, funds & sources of income.

    👉🏾If we had those rules,,, then there would be less than 65,000 foreign students, and virtually no partners in Australia.

    And despite what the parasitic ticket clipping universities etc say – the less foreign students we have in Australia, the better off we are.

  2. On the weekend had a read of my daughters “group project draft” which is a “collaboration” of 5 engineering students 2 of whom are foreign students. Daughter asked me to read the foreign student contribution. The English was a joke & the whole thing made no sense. As usual the locals rewrote the whole thing in order to get a pass mark. Ridiculous double up of time & effort for no good purpose.

    • RobotSenseiMEMBER

      Shackles the poorly performing with the strong. Like me and Michael Phelps swimming a relay, we stand a chance if he does every leg. I’ll take the medal though.

  3. Focusing upon students and/or international education using anecdotal is meaningless except for a dog whistle, but misses the point, in addition to universities there are the English, high school and vocational sectors.

    Point is, universities like other corporates now operate on a libertarian basis in minimising costs and maximising income but ignoring or precluding qualitative factors that have a significant impact, encouraged by the LNP.

    It’s not students who force their way into university but they are enrolled by admissions teams using paper based applications, box ticking but too often the latter are not ‘testing’ the paperwork nor the respective students face to face while Home Affairs issues visas; meanwhile too many senior lecturers et al. seem clueless in setting assessments and/or dealing with NESBs (plus marking down non contributors in group work).

    However, in Oz higher education the attitude is that ‘she’ll be right’, too much effort or ‘management’ do not want it (constraints) reflecting how the dollar rules and workplaces have become autocratic, like old factory assembly lines.

  4. Just a comment on the figure 2 chart in the article – which indicates that Australian has approx ‘1,580 foreign students per 100,000 people in population’.
    It’s nearly double that.
    It’s 2,976 per 100,000.

    We have 760,000 foreign students (primary visa) and 65,000 ‘partners’ on a secondary visa onshore.
    This is across a splendid array of ‘student’ graduate & post graduate, DFAT & scholarship visas, masking this incredible number that is so economically & socially toxic to our nation.
    Assuming Australia onshore population is
    25.7 million (latest figure ABS) sept 2020.
    Non Australian Foreign students & partners on temporary visas are 765,000 total.
    That is 765,000 / 257 (hundred thousand)
    That is 2,976 foreign students & partners per 100,000

    👉🏾Nearly double the chart figure given.
    And 4, 5, 6 or more times the other countries given as a comparison.

    And then we should compare the more important factor – which is the ‘quality’ of this intake, and the social & economic impact.

    In the US, UK, Europe & even China, their foreign students are almost all higher education post graduate, full fees paid up front, strict conditions on no work rights & no partners, no course or visa churn.

    Not so in Australia.

    In fact almost the other end of the spectrum.

    Almost all the foreign students and so called partners we have are very unskilled third world mature adults – recruited from the gutters and slums of the third world on what are nonsensical visas & pretext courses, many courses with no international accreditation or vocational benefit.

    Our foreign student & partner intake are only here to steal.
    To steal an Australian’s job, to steal an Australian’s housing, to be trafficked into the foreign run vice & black economy.

    In fact their only primary qualification is their ability to be a participant in illegal work including vice.
    To repay their agent procurer, to repay back that family debt and to send back remittances.

    Including btw over 50,000 third world mostly end of life asian vice workers foreign students as the mainstay of this industry.

    Or else money laundering, drugs or the pursuit of visa churn to secure a ‘PR as an anchor for chain migration.

    ▫️An entire Chinese Hukou underclass actively exported by Chinese authorities in collaboration with the Chinese trafficking syndicates / to shed their tier 1 city slums of these Hukou underclass social misfits & useless.

    ▫️The Indian lowlife, typically the 2nd or later son as the ‘mummy boy’, packaged up & sent overseas- the falsified documents & health checks, the bribes paid.. only here to work illegally 80 hours a week – to repay that agent procurer debt, to secure that PR, to recoup the money back in spousal or sponsorship of yet another Indian – and to get his mother & her sisters on Australia welfare & Medicare.

    💀Entire Nepalese villages, blatantly extending & churning visas with zero attendance or academic achievement, zero english after 4 years.

    ▫️Along with Bangladeshi rice farmers & itinerants doing Deliveroo, the South American spawn of their San Paulo or Borgata criminal class.

    ▫️The Middle East Jihadi, the Africans.
    ▫️The South East Asian bar girls & abandoned mothers & the gutter sweepings of Korea, Japan & Taiwan vice & petty criminal class.

    That’s what comes in.

    They are not here for the ‘education’.

    They would not pay a single Yuan, Yen, Rupee or Tika for the nonsense courses the ‘international education industry’ offers as a visa alibi for migrant guestworkers.

    The proof?

    With Covid-19, the shift to online learning.

    Campuses & classrooms all abandoned.

    All of the foreign students took advantage to increase their illegal work.

    To steal even more Australian’s jobs.
    In the middle of mass unemployment.

    Allowed to not attend classes at all, increasingly fraud their attendance and zero checks on course work.
    They had no funds.
    Most in breach of their visa and Coe.
    They should have been deported.
    The international education lobbyists, playing the export industry’ lie secured concessions, delays, appeals and just increased the impact these foreign students and partners have on our society & economy.

    👉🏾They don’t need to be in Australia to do any of these ‘online courses’.

    But would they actually pay for this education & do it overseas?

    No. Resoundingly no.
    Australia has never been able to sell its ‘education services’ as an export.

    It has always required the promise of that offshore education being an ‘intake feed’ allowed into Australia at some point – or granting access into Australia on a temporary long stay visa in pretext education.

    Facts are:
    1. The Australian education is poor quality, high cost and often without any international recognition or accreditation.
    2. The intake we have (as outlined) are not here for the education.
    3. We have compared to the other countries in the figure 2 chart less than 60,000 or so high education post graduate fully funded ‘genuine’ foreign students.
    The other 700,000?
    They are almost all in breach of their COe (over 75% work illegally), no class attendance or progression, no funds (they lied on self declared or bank statement fraud).
    They should have their visas cancelled, and be rounded up & deported to immediately reduce their social & economic impact to Australia.

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