Level 4, 10 Moore St, Canberra ACT 2601
+61 2 5123 6700

Media release: International student visa hike – another nail in the coffin for international education

July 1, 2024

Australia’s international education sector has taken another massive hit with the Albanese Government’s decision to more than double the fee for international student visas in a blatant revenue raising move masked as deterring low quality students.

Australia now has among the highest visa fees in the world. The current fee of $710 is already more than double that of comparable nations (New Zealand AUD$344; Canada AUD$168; US AUD$283) and increasing this non-refundable application fee to $1,600 sends entirely the wrong message to market.

Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said: “Far from ‘restoring integrity in the international education sector’ this measure will be a deterrent to international students.  The recent crackdown on visa approvals has already sent a strong signal that we are not open for business.

“This increase in visa fees will reverse the diversification of countries from which students come, at the very time the Federal Government is encouraging our universities to attract quality students from the ASEAN region.

“Yet again our international students are being used as cash cows to prop up the economy, the national research effort and now to fund other Government initiatives.

“It is death by a thousand cuts to our most successful services export sector.”

This announcement comes in the same week the Parliament is prematurely considering the ESOS Amendment Bill which includes the introduction of caps on international student enrolments.

“The consequence of rushing this legislation through Parliament, without proper consultation, is equivalent to economic vandalism and runs counter to the Government’s own rhetoric on the need for consultation with the sector. At risk is our $48 billion export sector. Jobs will be lost across the economy.

“International education has propped up the nation’s economy post-COVID. A National Australia Bank analysis shows that spending by international students was responsible for an 0.8 percentage point increase in GDP in 2023, over half of the recorded economic growth for that year.

“If Go8 universities are capped to a pre-COVID 2019 level of international students, then conservatively benchmarking against 2023 figures, this would have a potential immediate impact of $5.35 billion and over 22,500 jobs in the economy.

“The Government is making a critical mistake by using international students as a scapegoat to manage a short-term spike in migration and ease housing pressure.  Pulling two aggressive levers simultaneously represents a considerable threat to the sector’s global reputation and our capacity to attract the highest-quality students.

“The Go8 is not advocating an open slather approach, but this combination of government policies will have long lasting, damaging consequences for our economy, our skilled workforce and Australia’s international reputation.”

“Public providers must be removed from the ESOS Bill and 2025 be used as a transition year for close consultation on international education. The consequences of not doing so will be severe. There is a limit to the number of shocks the sector can take.”

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155

Related Posts