Australia is currently witnessing a remarkable surge in international student enrollment, bringing numerous advantages to the country’s cultural diversity, economic growth, and academic landscape. While some concerns have been raised about the strain on rental markets and infrastructure, it is crucial to recognise the substantial benefits that international students bring to Australia.
As of October 2023, the Department of Home Affairs reported a record 672,800 student visas, marking a substantial annual increase. This influx has not only contributed to the vibrancy of Australia’s education sector but has also bolstered the economy and fostered global connections. International students contribute heavily to our economy by taking up jobs that no one wants to do. These include food delivery, cleaning services, kitchen hands and much more. The next time you order food on Uber or any of its competitors, you are more than likely to get your food delivered by an international student.
Graduate visas have also seen a significant uptick, reaching a record high of 193,200 in October. This demonstrates the appeal of Australia as a destination for higher education and the subsequent contribution of skilled individuals to the workforce.
“Craig Mackey, director of corporate development at IDP Education, said the consultancy was tracking a 20% increase in foreign student enrolments in 2024, following a 77% rise last year”.
While there are concerns about the impact on the rental market, it’s important to note that this surge is a testament to Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for learning and growth. Instead of viewing it as a problem, we should consider it an opportunity to harness the benefits that come with a diverse and talented international student population.
The prospect of continued growth in international student numbers in 2024, as reported by The AFR, is a positive signal. Craig Mackey, director of corporate development at IDP Education, noted a 20% increase in foreign student enrollments, building on a 77% rise in the previous year. This growth reflects Australia’s reputation for delivering high-quality education and is something to be celebrated.
Are international students taking up all our jobs?
Contrary to the notion that international students are a burden on the job market, they play a crucial role in filling positions that many locals are reluctant to take up. Jobs in food delivery, cleaning services, kitchen hands, and more are frequently filled by these hard working individuals, contributing not only to the economy but also to the seamless functioning of various industries.
The next time you order food on Uber or any of its competitors, consider this: more than likely, your food will be delivered by an international student. These students are actively engaging in the workforce, taking up roles that are essential for the smooth operation of our daily lives. Far from being a drain on resources, they are an integral part of the Australian job market, injecting diversity and a strong work ethic.
Critics try to tax and cap to decrease the number of international students
Critics argue for taxing and capping international student numbers, but such measures may stifle the positive impacts these students bring. It’s essential to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between universities and international students, where the funds generated from tuition fees often fuel research initiatives and contribute to the global standing of Australian institutions.
The international student “ponzi scheme” accusation overlooks the tangible benefits that arise from fostering a globally competitive education system. Rather than being a detriment, this system propels universities to enhance their research capabilities, attracting top talent and creating a positive feedback loop that benefits both local and international students.
To ensure the ongoing success of this model, it’s imperative to reject calls for taxation on international students. Australian universities, as non-profit organisations, play a vital role in fostering academic excellence and driving economic growth. Implementing a levy on international students could undermine these institutions’ ability to provide world-class education.
What should we do instead?
Instead of limiting numbers, a more constructive approach involves implementing policies that support the integration of international students without burdening local infrastructure. This includes providing on-campus accommodation in proportion to enrollments, ensuring a balanced distribution of costs and benefits.
Additionally, measures can be taken to maintain high standards, such as tightening entry requirements, licensing standards for private colleges, and penalising poorly performing institutions. These steps will not only preserve the integrity of the education system but also enhance the overall experience for both domestic and international students.
In conclusion, Australia should embrace the influx of international students as a positive force for economic growth, academic excellence, and cultural diversity. Rather than imposing restrictive measures, the focus should be on implementing policies that foster a harmonious coexistence, ensuring that the benefits are shared by all Australians. We need to continue to attract the best minds of the world. Positive immigration is undoutably the best way to do it.