Australia is one of the most sought-after study destinations in the world due to its world-class universities and excellent system of education. The international students in Australia statistics show that thousands of students enrol in Australian universities every year, joining this way the welcoming and diverse study and teaching environments the higher education institutions in Australia offer. Seven Australian universities are ranked among the top 100 in the major worldwide university ranking lists.
You can find some of the best universities in two of the major cities in Australia, Sydney and Melbourne; but not only. Be it engineering, law, pharmacy, business, and all the way to the arts – in Australia you can find whatever degree programme you’re interested in. The International students statistics in Australia elaborate on the latest numbers on international students, where most of them come from, and their most preferred university choices.
International Students in Australia Growth Over the Years
The latest government statistics show that the number of international students as of October 2019, has experienced a growth of 10% since October 2018. More specifically, there are currently a total of 738,107 international students pursuing their degree in Australia.
The number of international student enrolments, on the other hand, was 917,793 in October 2019. There are more enrolments than students taking into consideration that one student can choose to study in more than one course.
The number of international students, compared to the previous years, continues to show growth. More specifically, it has changed significantly (58%) since 2015:
- In 2019, there were 738,107 international students in Australia.
- In 2018, there were 650,905 international students in Australia.
- In 2017, there were 586,627 international students in Australia.
- In 2016, there were 517,890 international students in Australia.
- In 2015, there were 465,508 international students in Australia.
International Students in Australia by Level of Study
Australia has the highest number of international students in the world. According to the latest annual report of the OECD, international students make up 21% of all tertiary enrolments in Australia, compared to 6% in other countries. Only 14% of all enrolments in Bachelor degree programmes are internationals, meanwhile internationals make up 48% of all enrolments in Master degree programmes, and 32% of doctoral candidates.
Top Countries of Origin of International Students in Australia
Although international students come from around the globe to Australia, there are some countries with distinctive student numbers enrolled in Australian universities. The top countries international students in Australia come from, as of 2019, are:
- China: 203,295 international students
- India: 109,736 international students
- Nepal: 51,377 international students
- Brazil: 25,604 international students
- Vietnam: 24,782 international students
- Malaysia: 23,854 international students
- Korea, Republic of (South): 20,152 international students
Ten Universities with the Most International Students in Australia
Not all international students in Australia are attending the same universities, however, there are universities that hold the highest number of internationals. The universities with the most international students in Australia, and the international proportions in comparison to the total number of students in that university are:
|Total International Students||International Proportion|
|The University of Sydney||25,532||38.2%|
|The University of Melbourne||21,858||32.1%|
|The University of Queensland||17,865||33.3%|
|University of New South Wales||15,741||25.2%|
|University of Technology Sydney||13,672||29.7%|
|The Australian National University||9,782||37.0%|
The most preferred fields of study for international students in Australia include Mixed Field Programmes, Management and Commerce, Education, Health, and Society and Culture among others.
Education Sector Statistics of International Students in Australia
International students are enrolled in different education sectors ranging from higher education institutions, VET, ELICOS, schools, and non-award sectors. The statistics range as follows:
- Higher Education: 47% (434,756)
- VET: 29% (269,253)
- ELICOS: 15% (141,091)
- Non-award: 5% (47,160)
- Schools: 3% (25,533)
VET (Vocational Education and Training)
ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
International Students Contributions to the Economy
In 2018/2019, international education was worth $37.6 billion to the Australian economy. The top countries contributing to the economy in Australia through international students are:
- China (excludes SARs and Taiwan): $12,095m
- India: $5,495m
- Nepal: $2,628m
- Malaysia: $1,378m
- Vietnam: $1,368m
- Brazil: $1,015m
- Korea, Republic of (South): $984m
Why do International Students Choose Australia?
Australia’s international student number count is growing by the day. More and more students are enrolling in its universities every year, making it the third most favored study destination for internationals after the US and UK. Some of the reasons international students are choosing this destination to pursue their degree are:
- Australian universities have global recognition and the education system maintains high standards. Some of its universities are ranked among the top universities in the world due to their world-class education and academic excellence.
- In comparison to the US and UK, the living costs in Australia are considerably lower. There is also the possibility of working part-time while studying (20 hours per week).
- Students can choose from a wide range of majors and degree programmes in Australia, depending on their preference, Australia offers them all.
- The majority of the Australian population is situated near the coast, so the great outdoors plays a huge role in making international students choose Australia.
- Australia offers some graduates the possibility of obtaining a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) which allows them to stay in Australia and find work after graduation.