Aus: cities see significant drop in int’l students

Published 26/02/2021

With little indication that borders will open for Australia’s international students anytime soon, stakeholders are faced with the prospect of a 50% drop in international students living in the country by the middle of this year.

This is according to a report last year from the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University which noted “every major Australian city is experiencing a significant drop in international students”.

It could be even more if there is no such relief or positive announcements from the government,” said Mayank Maheshwari, co-founder of student accommodation platform University Living.

“As a platform there’s a drastic decline in the number of enquiries”

“As a platform there’s a drastic decline in the number of enquiries. If I compare it with 2019, I would say it would be over 90%.

International students are not enquiring any more because there’s no clarity on when they can travel.”

The report noted that cities were being affected in different ways depending on how student accommodation was concentrated.

“In Melbourne, it is the central city area experiencing the greatest loss, whereas in Sydney the reduction is more evenly spread across the city,” the report stated.

Melbourne CBD in particular has seen large increases in rental vacancies.

“Australia is facing the dual problem of fewer new international students and currently enrolled students leaving the country,” report author Peter Hurley said.

“The initial population shock most affected regions where Chinese international students lived, but future declines are likely to involve international students from all countries.

“This means the impact of falling international student enrolments will become more widespread.”

The Australian government has not provided a timeframe for international students to return to Australia.

Maheshwari noted that as many PBSA providers are international, they already have experience in managing the arrival of international students in places such as the UK.

They could therefore play a role in future quarantine requirements and ensuring the safety of students.

They all have experience on what safety measures that they need to take for an international student, whether it’s quarantine, whether it’s providing the basic essentials or medical care,” he said.

“It’s a long time that students have been waiting to get into Australia.”

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