Australian Universities see drop in student visas from China

21 September 2010

The number of students from China applying for student visas to study at Australian universities for the following summer has dropped dramatically. Changes to Australian skilled immigration are thought to be the cause of the decline in student visa applications.

Chinese student visa applications to Australian universities have dropped by 40 percent for the next summer session. Technical and Further Education colleges have seen a decline of 80 percent in Chinese student visa applications.

The marked drop in student applications could cause a crisis in Australia's education industry as Chinese students represent approximately $6 billion in revenue. Chinese students make up an estimated 27 percent of Australia's foreign student population.

The drop in Chinese students is blamed on recent changes to Australian immigration law. On 01 July 2010, the Australian government reduced by 50 percent the number of skilled occupations which are eligible under its popular General Skilled Migration programme.

The Australian skilled occupation list while much reduced since 1 July 2010 has far more occupations on it than the Canadian occupation list. The Australian skilled occupation list has 181 occupations compared to 29 occupations under the Canadian Skilled worker programme.

Canada, the United States and a number of other Countries are trying to attract overseas students as well. Australia needs to work hard to continue to attract students from China and around the World.