The strategy, launched today by Education Minister Alan Tudge, is designed to support and develop Australia’s fourth largest export industry.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the sector lost $1.9 billion last year and will continue to face multi-year challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and prominently, the impact of international border closures.
“The Government has recognised the contribution of international education to our nation and to the national economy, and the role it will play in Australia’s recovery from the pandemic,” Ms Jackson said.
“Australia’s international education sector provides a $40.3 billion boost to the country’s exports and supports around 250,000 jobs.”
“That’s why the decline in international commencements, now more than 40 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, poses very serious challenges for our universities and our ability to play the fullest part in national recovery.”
The release of the strategy follows the announcement on Thursday of greater visa flexibility for students set to return to Australia and wish to pursue work after their studies.
“To complement the impending return of international students from 1 December, universities were pleased to see positive announcements on student visa settings, enabling them to re-apply for temporary graduate visas or extend their length of stay from two to three years,” Ms Jackson said.
“Long term vision is important, and we look forward to discussing how the Government proposes to implement the strategy in conjunction with the sector over the next decade.”