Australia is one of the most sought-after study destinations in the world due to its world-class universities and excellent education system. The international students in Australia statistics show that thousands of students enrol in Australian universities every year, joining the welcoming and diverse study and teaching environments Australia offers. 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 student statistics in Australia elaborate on the latest numbers on international students, where most of them come from, and their preferred university choices.
International Students in Australia Growth Over the Years
The latest government statistics show that, as of December 2022, the number of international students has experienced a growth of 8% since December 2021. More specifically, there is currently a total of 619,371 international students pursuing their degrees in Australia.
On the other hand, the number of international student enrolments was 746,387 in December 2022. There are more enrolments than students taking into consideration that one student can choose to enrol in more than one course.
Compared to the lower number of international students in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students has begun to bounce back. More specifically, it has grown by 24% since 2015 and is projected to grow to 940,000 students by 2025.
- In 2022, there were 619,371 international students in Australia.
- In 2021, there were 570,626 international students in Australia.
- In 2020, there were 687,082 international students in Australia.
- In 2019, there were 756,610 international students in Australia.
- In 2018, there were 692,520 international students in Australia.
- In 2017, there were 622,935 international students in Australia.
- In 2016, there were 553,063 international students in Australia.
- In 2015, there were 497,166 international students in Australia.
International Students in Australia by Level of Study
Australia is one of the top destinations for international students from all over the world. According to the latest annual report of the OECD, international students make up 26% of all tertiary enrolments in Australia.
Only 15.5% of all enrolments in bachelor’s degree programmes are internationals. Meanwhile, international students make up 49.8% of all enrolments in master’s degree programmes and 33.4% 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 2022, are:
- China: 156,217 international students
- India: 100,302 international students
- Nepal: 57,182 international students
- Colombia: 22,662 international students
- Vietnam: 22,521 international students
- Thailand: 19,362 international students
- Brazil: 19,057 international students
- Philippines: 17,976 international students
International Students in Australia by Host State and Territory
On December 2022, 464,168 international students were enrolled in Australian courses, 75% out of which resided in Australia throughout the duration of those courses.
Here are the numbers of international students in Australia by host state and territory:
- New South Wales: 182,093 international students
- Victoria: 140,403 international students
- Western Australia: 29,354 international students
- South Australia: 29,519 international students
- Queensland: 62,853 international students
- Tasmania: 6,273 international students
- Northern Territory: 2,427 international students
Ten Universities with the Most International Students in Australia
Not all international students in Australia attend 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:
|University||Total International Students||International Proportion|
|The University of Sydney||22,140||38.2%|
|University of Melbourne||14,166||27.1%|
|University of New South Wales||13,132||25.1%|
|University of Wollongong||12,360||40.5%|
|University of Sydney||12,278||22.6%|
|University of Queensland||11,519||23.6%|
|University of Technology Sydney||10,054||26.7%|
The most preferred fields of study for international students in Australia include mixed field programmes, Accounting, Actuarial Science, Architecture, Engineering, Health, and Humanities, 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: 48% (361,247)
- VET: 37% (273,838)
- ELICOS: 11% (79,362)
- Non-award: 3% (20,067)
- Schools: 2% (11,873)
*VET (Vocational Education and Training)
*ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
International Students Contributions to the Economy
In 2022, international education contributed $25.5 billion to the Australian economy, with students studying online adding another $3.5 billion.
The top countries that contributed to the economy in Australia through education-related travel exports in the 2021-2022 period are:
- China: $4,230 million
- India: $3,729 million
- Nepal: $2,002 million
- Vietnam: $958 million
- Malaysia: $683 million
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 favoured study OECD destination country among international students after the US and UK.
Some of the reasons international students are choosing Australia to pursue their degree are:
- Global recognition. 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.
- Cost of living. 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; 48 hours per fortnight starting from July 2023).
- Diverse range of programs. Students can choose from a wide range of majors and degree programmes in Australia, depending on their preference, Australia offers them all.
- Excellent lifestyle. 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.
Work after graduation. 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.