The number of Chinese students undertaking English-language tests in preparation for coming to Australia has plummeted by more than 25% this year. The reason is simple. There are now far tighter visa requirements and the Australian dollar is very strong, making it a lot more expensive to study there.
An Austrade survey of Chinese agents shows 53% are expecting demand for Australian education to fall during the next three to 12 months. Nearly half the agents reported their Australian business had fallen by more than 20% while their business for the US was up an average of 50%.
For the year to November, IELTS candidature for Australia dropped by almost 30,000 students to 87,304 from 117,286 last year. This reverses the 11% growth in 2009 and average growth of almost 50% between 2006 and 2008.
The Australian reports Britain’s quick visa processing and eased financial requirements for visas were giving it an advantage, along with the availability of a two-year working visa after graduation.