International student numbers hit record levels last year -- and are predicted to boom again

UTS: University of Technology, Sydney/ Facebook.

Australia hosted a record number of international higher education students last year, and early figures suggest 2015 will be even bigger.

In 2014, there were 589,860 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on a student visa – a 12.3% increase on 2013 – and as at year-to-date March, there were already 413,032 enrolments.

Driving this year’s increase were students from China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal and the Republic of Korea, which together contributed 52.5% of enrolments.

China alone contributed 115,311 enrolments by March this year, 27.9% of the total

Earlier this month the federal government released a draft National Strategy for International Education, aimed at strengthening the sector.

International education is Australia’s largest services export, contributing $16.3 billion to the economy in 2013–14.

It also supports nearly 130,000 jobs nationally and plays a significant economic role as a source of skilled migrants, as well as skilled labour for Australian companies operating overseas.

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