International student numbers fall amid looming sector caps


The Australian government has implemented numerous changes aimed at reducing net overseas migration by approximately 50% by 2024/25. In parallel, Canada has imposed a two-year cap on the number of study permits issued, reducing student numbers by a third, while the UK has raised the skilled worker salary threshold and banned dependents.


The number of international students granted visas to study in Australia has significantly decreased as the Albanese government seeks to curb net migration. According to the latest figures from the Department of Home Affairs, university enrollments from overseas are down 28% compared to last year.


IDP Education has predicted that the size of the international education market will shrink by 20-25% over the next 12 months. In the short term, financial concerns center on falling demand for IELTS testing, with the company predicting a 15-20% decline in the volume of IELTS test-takers. However, they expect solid average fee growth in 2025. In response to “restrictive policies” in key study destinations, including Australia, Canada, and the UK, IDP Education has informed investors of plans for significant cuts.

International student numbers fall amid looming sector caps

Despite the overall decline, visa approvals for Chinese students remain robust in the higher education sector, with 63,655 approved since July, compared to 79,902 in 2022-23. However, Indian enrollments in universities have declined, with 30,766 visas granted this financial year compared to 62,037 in 2022-23.


From the beginning of this year until April, 74,934 international student visas were issued for the higher education sector, a notable drop from the 103,747 visas issued during the same period last year.


The VET sector has been particularly affected, with only 11,614 visas issued between January and April, compared to 40,750 in the previous year—a decline of 71%. 



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