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 2013, 526,932 international students were enrolled in education programs in Australia. Of these, there were 231,186 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 ELICOS continues to provide a popular pathway for international students moving into the VET and higher education sectors. In 2013, 28 per cent of international students who commenced a higher education course had previously studied in the ELICOS sector, while 36 per cent of international students who commenced a VET course in 2013 did so through an ELICOS pathway.

Sector International student
enrolments 2013
Higher education 231,186
VET 135,151
ELICOS 114,603
Schools 17,838
Other 28,154
Total in Australia 526,932

Which states and territories are international students studying in?

New South Wales and Victoria attract the largest numbers of international students. The other states and territories have smaller numbers of international students and smaller numbers of students overall.

State/territory International student
enrolments 2013
NSW 189,265
VIC 143,530
QLD 86,179
WA 42,204
SA 26,764
ACT 10,876
TAS 4543
NT 1406

Where are Australia's international students from?

The table below shows the international student enrolments for the top 10 nationalities in 2013, which made up 68 per cent of Australia’s enrolments in all sectors. The largest number of enrolments in the higher education sector were from China, India and Malaysia; the largest in the VET sector were from India, China and the Republic of Korea; the largest in the ELICOS sector were from China, Brazil and Thailand; and the largest in the schools sector were from China, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea. There were some slight differences in the top 10 countries in 2013, with Thailand overtaking Malaysia and Brazil overtaking Indonesia 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 2013
China 150,116
India 49,265
Republic of Korea 27,580
Vietnam 26,015
Thailand 21,762
Malaysia 21,208
Brazil 17,554
Indonesia 17,131
Nepal 14,351
Pakistan 12,869
All nationalities 526,932

The information in this article was sourced from the Australian Government’s Australian Education International 2013 international student enrolments data.

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