The $36 billion international education market has been hit by a Home Affairs department decision making it more difficult for students from India, Nepal and Pakistan to get visas for Australia.
The department has raised the “risk status” of the three countries from medium to high because of fraud, visa cancellations and visa holders becoming “unlawful non-citizens”.
The change was not publicly announced but has been signalled to migration agents since September 26.
The shift against India, Nepal and Pakistan comes as universities struggle to diversify away from the giant China market, which accounts for more than 30 per cent of students at some of the sandstone institutions.
Universities have been marketing aggressively outside of China since concerns were raised about China Communist Party domination of strategic and research activities. In the year ended July, Australia’s intake of students from India alone went up 30 per cent to 84,753.
The International Education Association of Australia said the Home Affairs decision was “far from welcome”.
“Unfortunately the Department of Home Affairs has rained on the parade, so the massive year on year growth from India may now be at risk,” said chief executive Phil Honeywood.
SOURCE : FINANCIAL REVIEW
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