Australia’s Foreign Student Market Continues To Plummet

.tags It seems that the changes that were done to the Australia student visa program is starting to take their toll on the country. The number of student visa applications to Australia has been steadily dropping. And some experts are worried that it can go on even longer. According to the figures gathered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the number of foreign student enrollments dropped by as much as five percent from the figures posted in the same period last year. Of this, the most significant drop came from Indian students, who posted a 78 percent decrease in numbers. Interestingly, the Indian foreign student community is the largest in the country, with more than a hundred thousand individuals enrolled in various schools around Australia. And it seems that it is not only the Indians that are leaving Australia. Chinese students are also starting to reconsider their visa applications. For this year, for instance, Chinese enrollments to Australian universities has dropped by almost 40 percent, while those taking up Technical and Further Education courses have decreased by almost 80 percent. The Chinese make up an estimated 27 percent of the Australian student market, which earns the country $ 6 billion annually. One of the biggest factors that is being blamed for the decrease in enrollment is the changes made to the student migration program itself. These changes has been implemented by the DIAC since late last year. Of these, the one with the largest effect, according to observers, is the reorganization of the skilled occupation list, where the Australian government removed more than 50 percent of the current jobs listed to make way for higher level positions. As a lot of the students are taking these courses, many were immediately affected by the new rules. And there is yet more to come that might considerable affect the fate of the Australian foreign education industry. One of these is the recently released review by the DIAC of the industrys risk assessment levels. These risk assessment levels are the measure of how many evidences a student visa applicants must submit for his or her application. The higher the level, the more documents needed to be submitted. According to industry people, the review of these levels is likely to cause some of them to be relaxed, which can lead to a further decline. The situation is further troubled by a growing competition from other countries, such as the United States and Britain, for the foreign student market. Thus, industry heads are clamoring for the newly elected government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to immediately act on the situation.