With the world recommencing operations, Stuart Ayres, the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney is working towards bringing back international students early next year, sources state. With the absence of international students in the state, a hit of AU$2.5 billion has been witnessed.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also announced that she wants the state’s borders to open to foreign students within six weeks.
The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Geoff Lee commented the COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of international students for the economy of New South Wales. He reported that the Treasury figures show that the approx. AU$50,000 each was contributed by international students to the economy.
A Victoria University Mitchell Institute research revealed that it is expected to see a total of 300,000 international students living in Australia by mid of 2021. Sources stated that the number is approximately 50% lower, and will continue to be so till the Australian borders reopen.
The report further highlighted that effects of the international education crisis are “not just a university problem”. The report states that nearly AU$ 21.4 billion (or about 57%) of the AU$37.5% billion revenue of international education is earned through goods and services in the wider economy, utilised by the students.
Sources claim that international student applications have plummeted by 80%-90% of the previous year numbers, i.e. 2019. This approximately comes around to 210,000 fewer international students in Australia than expectations.
Geoff Lee further stated that international students are responsible for not only bringing in income to the university but also to nearby businesses and service providers such as food & hospitality, accommodation, etc. He added that the Ministry is working with the federal government to safely bring back the required number of international students.
With such high numbers, governments should work on restarting the international education sector in a safe and controlled manner, to regain the lost revenue. Quicker responses will be the key to reducing the losses faced by the country due to the pandemic.