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Navitas downgrades student enrolment prediction

Navitas downgrades student enrolment prediction

Overseas students hoping to relocate to Australia to be educated have hit problems with the new visa enrolment system, which may prevent some of them from realising their dreams.

This is according to Navitas, which as a result of the difficulties has downwardly revised its predictions for overseas student figures over the coming year, AAP sources report.

It previously forecast a growth in student enrolments of between five and 15 per cent, but now believes the increase could be as little as two per cent.

Navitas identified that the fall in applications to study in Australia has been due to the introduction of a streamlined visa processing system in March.

A spokesperson confirmed: "What we're hearing from our staff and people overseas is that there are a lot more applying for visas, so therefore there's a slowdown in that phase.

"There's usually a lag, but at the moment it's longer."

Navitas acknowledged, however, that it is possible some applicants may have deferred until next semester, meaning migration consultants may see the figures pick up some time soon.

There could be another reason behind the fall in student visa applicant numbers, as identified by a number of experts who have spoken to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Among them was general manager of sales and marketing at UTS:Insearch Belinda Howell, who emphasised that overseas students need to be assured that they can leave Australia with quality qualifications.

This is especially the case for the Chinese community, she emphasised, as students are attracted to opportunities rather than the sun and sand lifestyle that Australia has to offer.

"The first question they ask agents is what is a good career for my child. Then it's what course do they have to do to get that career. And then, how much money will they earn and will they get a job," she commented.

David Finegold, senior vice-president for Lifelong Learning and Strategic Growth at Rutgers University, echoed these sentiments, saying that education is no longer seen as a route to a permanent residency visa.

Australia has plenty to offer in terms of higher education, including TAFE and graduate degrees, but more needs to be done to promote the benefits of studying in this country as opposed to anywhere else.

Statistics were reported showing that overseas student numbers are now 22 per cent lower than they were in 2008-09.




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