Universities Australia warns of adverse economic impacts of government's international student cap-Xinhua

Universities Australia warns of adverse economic impacts of government's international student cap

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-06 09:18:16

CANBERRA, June 6 (Xinhua) -- A move by the Australian government to cap international student numbers will be detrimental to the economy, the peak body for universities has warned.

In a speech on Wednesday to the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) conference, Universities Australia chief executive Luke Sheehy said that the government was openly targeting international students in its bid to reduce migration.

He said that cuts to international student numbers were shortsighted and would adversely impact Australia's economy.

"Australia's international education sector supports 250,000 jobs nationally. Jobs not only in education but in sectors right across the economy in retail, tourism and accommodation," Sheehy said.

The governing Labor Party in May announced plans to cap international student enrolments after the number of international students in Australia surpassed 700,000 for the first time in February.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australia's international education industry was worth a record 47.8 billion Australian dollars (31.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, up 79.6 percent from 26.6 billion AUD (17.6 billion USD) in 2022.

An analysis released by economists from the National Australia Bank (NAB) -- one of Australia's Big Four banks -- in March revealed that international student spending accounted for over half of Australia's economic growth in 2023.

"The nation would have slipped dangerously close to recession if not for the rapid return of international students," Sheehy said on Wednesday.

Under the government's proposed laws, the education minister would be granted the power to set caps on new international student enrolments for courses and education providers.

The proposed cap is part of the government's broader plan to reduce net annual migration to Australia from a record-high 528,000 in 2022-23 to 260,000 in 2024-25.