Increasing numbers of international students are driving Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data published today by the Department of Education shows the number of new international students preparing to start their studies for the academic year has grown by almost 2000 in January 2023, compared with before the pandemic.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the numbers painted an encouraging picture of the progress made in the recovery of international education.
“It’s terrific to see so many students back on campus with their friends,” Ms Jackson said.
“This is yet another positive sign that our international education sector, worth $40 billion to the economy in 2019, is recovering in leaps and bonds.
“It’s especially pleasing to see student commencements surpassing pre-pandemic levels as students return to our shores for a world-class university education.
“We also know that just over 59,000 students came to Australia in January – more than double the number in the same period last year.
“There is still ground to make up, with total enrolments not yet back to pre-pandemic levels.
“We expect student arrivals, as well as commencements and enrolments, will continue to increase once February data is available.
“The value of international students extends far beyond the numbers. When students come to Australia, they make important contributions that improve our social and cultural fabric and strengthen our friendships with the world.
“Australia’s international education system is one of the best in the world. We must continue to build on its recovery – returning to the position of strength we held before the pandemic.”