Australia’s fake education ‘exports’ exposed again

MB has comprehensively debunked Australia’s claimed $40 billion of education exports, which are wildly exaggerated.

In a nutshell, the majority of education ‘exports’ comes in the form of expenditure on goods and services in Australia, as explicitly acknowledged in a recent Mitchell Institute report:

The majority of the $20 billion loss of economic value is in the form of goods and services spent in the broader economy: about 36% on accommodation and another 36% is on hospitality and retail.

Given that most international students fund a significant proportion of their expenses via income earned while working in Australia, this by definition is not an export.

The fact that so many international students fell into hardship when they lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic, and then demanded taxpayer support, highlights this point. As does the fact that youth unemployment has fallen sharply despite rising participation, precisely because the number of international students working and competing for jobs has shrunk.

An article published on Wednesday by The PIE highlights the international education export scam, with foreign students now qualifying for emergency welfare if they lose their jobs due to lockdown:

Recipients will be given up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work, and $325 per week for losing under 20 hours…

Belle Lim, national president of the Council of International Students Australia told The PIE… “this support is critical to help those in the community who are most in need and most vulnerable to an extended lockdown”…

“Many students had reported skipping meals, compromising living arrangements, worrying about course discontinuation due to inability to pay fees, or even facing homelessness,” Lim said…

Robert Parsonson, executive officer of ISEAA… said that the government had not given assistance during the first lockdowns of 2020 and that this had led to “queues of international students for food hampers”.

Again, how can international education be considered Australia’s third biggest export when foreign students fund their studies via working in Australia? Any money earned in Australia is by definition not an export.

Any genuine calculation of education exports would only count money that comes into Australia from overseas. It should also net out money sent home via remittances. The fact that the oft quoted $40 billion export figure does neither of these things, and wrongly includes expenditure funded via paid work in Australia, means education exports are wildly exaggerated.

International education is not a genuine export industry, but rather a people importing industry.

Sadly, the creative accounting and propaganda surrounding education exports plays straight into the hands of the edu-migration industry by inflating its worth while never mentioning the many costs.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

    When people think of foreign students they think of rich Chinese with LV bags and Macan Turbos. These people are disproportionately visible, but they constitute a tiny minority. The vast majority of foreign students are living hand to mouth and 3 to a room.

  2. There’s a new twist this time. Despite 35K Australians locked out, the rest locked in, crap quarantine and vaccination, Morrison will gaslight us that students are coming in on “special” flights into “special” quarantine. In a parallel Australia.

    • Breaches in hotel quarantine keep pushing the start date of large volumes of students entering Australia further back.
      Victoria wanted to quarantine students from July last year that got shelved due to quarantine breaches
      South Australia wanted to do the same from late last year. Deferred due to quarantine breaches
      NSW wanted to do the same from the start of this year. Deferred due to the Northern Beaches cluster

      If NSW and SA have another breach, then their proposed international student quarantine plans will be deferred once again.

      • I get the gut feeling we’re going to be told that, we have to learn to live with this virus, if we all behave ourselves, follow guidelines (do as we say), then we can open up again.

        Just a gut feeling, it is sounding like the media is busting to give us such good news. I reckon the people of Australia with say, what a good job Scotty, and Gladys are doing, imagine if the other mob were in charge. They really want the students back.

        Thankfully we have a handful of infections here, hope is stays that way, or disappears.

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        I’m more interested in how the story will be spun when some rampant infection breaks out of the ‘super duper special student quarantine accomodation’ (aka student housing on campus) into the local population. There is zero chance the all students are going to stay locked into their studio apartments for two weeks and behave.

  3. MathiasMEMBER

    The Right Level of Migration should never exceed the level whereby the Local Populations Birth Rates continue to decline.

    When the cost of living in a Country skyrockets to the point where the Local Population can no longer live a sustainably balanced life, its time to stop.

    We exceeded that years ago.

    • PalimpsestMEMBER

      Actually, that’s not a bad measure when I think about it. A level or declining population is a good target. I know there are whole lobbying industries set up to push a big Australia, but out in the real world there just isn’t the water, or infrastructure. There are other factors too, education to support a more computerised, automated society. The natural carrying capacity of the land was past a while ago.

  4. The edu-migration industry has captured Canberra. Senator Nick McKim was demanding that Australia do something about the people on 485 visas (work after studying here) who are stuck overseas.

  5. So international students are taking food hampers from families in need. They should be being turned away and advised to picket their university campus. What a shameful disgrace.

  6. Many are working hours that make any form of meaningful study virtually impossible.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      Yeah, that was my thought when the Grubbermint raised the international student visa rules from allowing up to 20 hours a week working to 40 hour a week. Who the hell can work 40 hours a week and still have time for study et al?

      • Reckon tertiary education standards will degrade (even more), or the pass line lowered, so our precious “exports” get their bucks worth?

  7. MB readerMEMBER

    “Given that most international students fund a significant proportion of their expenses via income earned while working in Australia, this by definition is not an export.”
    Exactly!! Keep up the good work in exposing this lie.

  8. So we pay Australians welfare whilst international students and temporary workers do our jobs, and then we now pay these temporary migrants welfare too. What a joke. No doubt the rest of the media thinks it’s a wonderful idea. They are the biggest cheerleaders for int’l students.

  9. innocentbystander

    1. So basically there are almost no exports, just foreign students undercutting wages.

    2. University hierarchies make more money from the scam.

    3. Effectively they are selling citizenships, but the university hierarchies get the loot. The rest of us pay the price. Privatize profits, socialize costs.

    4. The locals pick up the tab in terms of higher taxes, higher charges and congestion (driven around Sydney or Melbourne lately?), and higher housing costs.

    People don’t realize that high population growth is incredibly expensive because of the vast amount of roads, power stations, schools, hospitals, public transport, police stations, housing etc that has to be built. A simple econometric model suggests that 20-25% of our whole economy is devoted to just keeping up with population growth.