Dirk Mulder on where international students are (and aren’t)


New  data on visa holders shows there are currently 440 933 primary visa student holders on the books as at August 1 2022. 355,772 of them are onshore but 85,221 are offshore – that’s 19 per cent of the international student body

 by subclass:

Higher Education: Total of 274,674. In Australia 213,968. Outside of Australia 60,706 or 22 per cent

Independent ELICOS: Total of 20,123. In Australia 13,021. Outside of Australia 7,102 or 35 per cent

Non-Award: Total of 7,837. In Australia 6,220. Outside of Australia 1,617 or 21 per cent,

Postgraduate Research: Total of 18,241. In Australia 14,679. Outside of Australia 3,562 or 20 per cent

Schools: Total of 12,206. In Australia 10,030. Outside of Australia 2,176 or 18 per cent

VET: Total of 107,839. In Australia 97,854. Outside of Australia 9,985 or 9 per cent

other: There are 73 outside of Australia which is 100 per cent of the total.

 by citizenship:

China: Total 120,140 with 45,614 or 38 per cent offshore.

India: Total 63,890 with 6302 or 10 per cent offshore.

Nepal: Total 42,331 with 1,574 or 4 per cent offshore.

Vietnam: Total 18,093 with 1,957 or 11 per cent offshore.

Colombia: Total 13,646, with 3,358 or 25 per cent offshore.

Indonesia: Total 12,921 with 1,580 or 12 per cent offshore.

Thailand: Total 12,667 with 1,079 or 9 per cent offshore.

Brazil: Total 12,573 with 2,247 or 18 per cent offshore.

Malaysia: Total 11,874 with 1,159 or 10 per cent offshore.

Philippines: Total 10,852 with 910 or 8 per cent offshore.

other: Total 122,006 with 19,441 or 16 per cent offshore.

 by state/territory (All sectors – location of primary education provider):

NSW: In Australia 127,011, Outside of Australia 35,863 or 22 per cent

VIC: In Australia 102,412, Outside of Australia 23,170 or 18 per cent

QLD: In Australia 62,885, Outside of Australia 14,118 or 18 per cent

SA: In Australia 28,739, Outside of Australia 5,090 or 15 per cent

WA: In Australia 20,730, Outside of Australia 3,791 or 15 per cent

TAS: In Australia 4,118, Outside of Australia 353 or 8 per cent

NT: In Australia 1,450, Outside of Australia 145 or 9 per cent

ACT: In Australia 8,239, Outside of Australia 2,516 or 23 per cent


* China – This data confirms suspicions (CMM JUNE 16) that Chinese students are staying back. And they are. 38 per cent are outside of Australia – double the national average

* Higher Education in the ACT and NSW – it would be a safe presumption that a number of these Chinese students are enrolled in Higher Education institutions in the ACT and NSW.  Of the states ACT (23 per cent) and NSW (22 per cent) have the highest per centage of students outside Australia

* ELICOS – somewhat perplexing is the fact 35 per cent of ELICOS primary Visa holders are offshore. This may be an anomaly to do with the fact English has a rolling commencement while other sectors have fixed commencement dates around semesters or trimesters ,combined with a number of Chinese citizens still off-shore.

CMM notes and thanks sources who advise that the numbers back on campus aren’t necessarily what the commencement and enrolment figures are showing – which this data demonstrates.

Furthermore, the sector in its entirety is just shy of having one in five students still offshore with Higher Education, Independent ELICOS, Non-Award and Postgraduate research all having one in five or slightly above remaining outside of Australia.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM