Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Overseas students 'vital' to economy

The two articles posted below are very significant. these clearly highlight that International students are the key drivers of the Australian economy in this time of International economic crisis. every dollar that an international student spends for fees/living expense contributes to job creation here.  Read below the articles from The Australian.

Overseas students 'vital' to economy

A DROP of 5 per cent in the number of overseas students at Australian colleges and universities would cause 6300 Australians to lose their jobs as the economy shed more than $600 million in export revenue, a new report warns.

The Access Economics report on the contribution of overseas students to the Australian economy, released today, confirms the export education sector's bullish growth prospects.

It estimates that while overseas students and their families spend $14.1 billion each year in Australia, this creates an extra $12.6 billion in "value added" goods, services and jobs.

The export education industry's total contribution to the Australian economy is more than $26.7 billion.

The report estimates that for every four overseas students who come to Australia to study, more than one Australian job is created.

But it also warns of the dire consequences of any contraction in overseas student numbers, and models the impact of a "shock" to the national economy of a 5 per cent fall in global demand for Australian education.

Commissioned by the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, which represents more than 1100 private colleges, the report comes a fortnight after the federal Government announced plans to cut the skilled migration intake by 14per cent next year.

There are fears that the Government's shake-up of skilled migration, which is expected to reduce the number of permanent visas by 18,500 next year, could dampen demand from overseas students for Australian education.

Access Economics found, for example, that in 2007-08 more than 21,000 overseas students were granted residency under various visa class applications.

ACPET national executive officer Andrew Smith said the report highlights the risk to Australian jobs if international student numbers are reduced as part of migration reform.

"Our sector is one of the best performing industries in the country, employs more Australians each year and has proven extremely resilient to the impact of the global financial crisis," Mr Smith said.

"In steering Australia through one of the most serious economic crises in history, it is vital that we don't put at risk industries that are performing well, such as our thriving international education industry, in order to protect others that are not."

The report finds that Australia's export education industry grew 42 per cent in the three years to last year, employs 126,000 people, and contributes 1per cent of the nation's GDP.

It confirms that the education sector is the nation's third-biggest export earner behind coal and iron ore, and performs better than travel, services (professional, business and technical), gold, crude petroleum and aluminium.

"Each international student, including their friend and family visitors, contributes an average of $28,921 in value added to the Australian economy and generates 0.29 in full-time equivalent workers," the report finds.

Last year, overseas students spent about $13.7 billion -- including $6.4 billion on education fees and $4.3 billion on food and accommodation -- while visiting friends and family spent $365.8 million.

In addition, Australian education providers earned $438 million from overseas campuses and consultancy services.

While Australia's universities are reporting continued strong international enrolments, concerns remain the market could yet take a hit if the economic downturn bites hard in Asian source countries.

There is also a risk that students will be put under pressure by part-time work opportunities drying up.

Source: The Australian