International students in Australia

International students in Australia

How many international students are studying in Australia?Group of students stand in circle holding passports

Australia is a popular study destination with students from around the world wishing to gain a top-quality education. Each year, many new international students enrol in Australian courses and add to the already significant international student body around the country.

In 2012, 515,853 international students were enrolled in education programs in Australia. Of these, there were 230,923 international students enrolled in the higher education sector.

Which education sectors are international students studying in?

Most of the international students in Australia are studying in the higher education sector, followed by the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector and the schools sector (see table below).

Data also shows that the schools and ELICOS sectors continue to provide a popular pathway for international students moving into the VET and higher education sectors. In 2012, 56 per cent of students who studied ELICOS courses moved into the VET and higher education sectors, while 35 per cent of international students who studied in Australian schools went on to study in the VET and higher education sectors.

Sector International student
enrolments 2012
Higher education 230,923
VET 145,540
ELICOS 95,224
Schools 18,599
Other 25,567
Total in Australia 515,853

Which states and territories are international students studying in?

New South Wales and Victoria attract the biggest numbers of international students. New South Wales registered 194,003 international students in 2012, while Victoria registered 148,860 international students. The other states and territories have smaller numbers of international students and smaller numbers of students overall.

State/territory International student
enrolments 2012
NSW 194,003
VIC 148,860
QLD 86,104
WA 41,685
SA 28,191
ACT 10,978
TAS 4638
NT 1394

Where are Australia's international students from?

The table below shows the international student enrolment numbers for the ten countries in 2012 that had the highest numbers of students studying in Australia, which made up 69 per cent of Australia’s international student enrolments in all sectors. The largest number of enrolments in the higher education sector were from China, Malaysia and India; the largest in the VET sector were from India, China and Thailand; the largest in the ELICOS sector were from China, Brazil and the Republic of Korea; and the largest in the schools sector were from China, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam. There were some slight differences in the top ten countries in 2012, with Brazil overtaking Nepal and Pakistan overtaking Saudi Arabia in terms of international student enrolments. Data also showed a significant increase in the number of student visa applications from Colombia and the Philippines.

Nationality International student
enrolments 2012
China 149,758
India 54,396
Republic of Korea 27,719
Vietnam 22,551
Malaysia 21,587
Thailand 20,240
Indonesia 17,514
Brazil 15,092
Nepal 14,074
Pakistan 11,298
All nationalities 515,853

The information in this article was sourced from the Australian Government’s Australian Education International 2012 international student enrolments data.

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