Australian review of student visa requirements

Australia seems to have realised that student recruitment matters

Times Higher carries an interesting piece on changes to student visa arrangements in Australia.

Universities in Australia have welcomed the “timely” decision by the country’s federal government to review its student-visa system in light of the recent collapse in demand from overseas students.

Ministers announced the review last week alongside an immediate package of measures designed to ease restrictions that have been partly blamed for the decline in applications from key markets such as India and China.

Although other factors such as the global recession, the strong Australian dollar and the fallout from attacks on Indian students have also hit enrolments, the government has come under pressure to change its visa policy.

Concerns have also been expressed that the Australian government was giving overseas students the impression that it was not “open for business”, with the result that students were heading for competitor countries such as the US, Canada and the UK.

Given the decidedly unfriendly tenor of the government’s latest immigration proposals, this move could reverse the flow of traffic. Good news for Australian HE, not good for UK universities (or the UK economy).

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