The facts and figures of international students in Australia

International education is as important to Australia as ever before, with the sector now representing Australia’s third greatest export at a value of $33.9 billion.

In the 2018 calendar year, 876,399 enrolments were produced by 693,750 international students – a 10.1 per cent increase on figures recorded in the 2017 data set. These enrolments were concentrated in the Higher Education, VET (Vocational Education and Training) and ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) sectors. China, India and Nepal emerged as the top three international student contributors in the 2018 calendar year, with Brazil and Malaysia making up the top five. These five countries contributed 56 per cent of Australia’s total international student population, with all nations recording an increase on their 2017 figures.

Let’s break down this data even further to see where international students are coming from, what they’re studying and where they’re deciding to live during their time in Australia.

Top 10 international student contributors to Australia

  1. China (205,189 students)
  2. India (89,570)
  3. Nepal (43,021)
  4. Brazil (26,620)
  5. Malaysia (26,085)
  6. Vietnam (24,131)
  7. Republic of South Korea (21,799)
  8. Thailand (18,014)
  9. Colombia (16,942)
  10. Indonesia (16,541)

Most popular study areas for international students in Australia

  1. Management and Commerce
  2. Information Technology
  3. Health
  4. Engineering
  5. Society and Culture
  6. Natural and Physical Sciences

Most popular states by international student number in Australia

  1. New South Wales (264,778 students)
  2. Victoria (226,912)
  3. Queensland (107,555)
  4. Western Australia (40,703)
  5. South Australia (31,821)
  6. Australian Capital Territory (16,851)
  7. Tasmania (10,465)
  8. Northern Territory (2,364)

International student enrolment characteristics by Australian capital cities

SectorStudy levelStudy areaHome country
SydneyHigher EducationNon AQF AwardManagement and CommerceChina
Melbourne Higher EducationNon AQF AwardManagement and CommerceChina
BrisbaneVETNon AQF AwardSociety and CultureChina
AdelaideHigher EducationNon AQF AwardManagement and CommerceChina
PerthVETNon AQF AwardSociety and Culture China
Hobart Higher EducationMasters Degree (coursework)Management and CommerceChina
DarwinHigher EducationBachelor DegreeManagement and CommerceNepal
CanberraHigher EducationMasters Degree (coursework)Management and CommerceChina

Useful Links:

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join the conversation