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99% decline in international students arriving in Australia

The numbers recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics are based on arrivals in January 2021.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   18-03-2021

BrainGain Magazine
Photo by Alexander Kovalev from Pexels

In January 2020, more than 90,000 international students had arrived in Australia. In January 2021, the number was 360. The decrease is a whopping 99.6% according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Phil Honeywood, CEO of International Education Association of Australia (IAEA), told the press that this drop did not come as a total surprise. “Australia being one of the only student education markets that have got its borders totally closed, this is not surprising.”

Earlier, the government indicated that they are working towards opening an international travel bubble with Singapore. According to news reports, this will allow Australians who have been vaccinated to travel to Singapore without needing to quarantine or seek approval from the Department of Home Affairs.

Later, this could also allow groups of people from other countries such as international students to return to Australia after quarantining in Singapore.

Mr. Honeywood hoped that this plan would help the struggling international higher education sector in the country, which is in urgent need of aid. He said, the development of Singapore as an entry portal needs to be “ as fast-tracked as possible.”

He added, that the best example had been set by pilot program designed by the Charles Darwin University and the Northern Territory Government. Under this plan 63 students were flown in through Singapore late last year. However, students from only five countries were allowed: China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan.

“Now obviously, we’d want the Singapore authorities to ensure that India and Nepal, the Subcontinent countries, are also included,” Mr Honeywood said.

Closed borders has also meant that visa applications have dropped off a cliff from India and China – both of which are top markets. In 2020, the Department of Home Affairs reported that only 10,549 applications had been received from India – a decline of 48.4% from 2019.



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