Impact of Covid on the international student market of Australia

The market for international students in Australia is huge, accounting for one of the largest markets at USD 32 billion per year. Likewise, the market is continuously growing as the number of international students choosing Australia for abroad studies is rising.

According to the Australian Department of Education, Skills, and Employment, Australia had 517,519 international students as of January 2020. The majority of these students are enrolled in Higher Education, VET courses, or ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students). While studying, many of these students undertake casual employment to support themselves and make up a vast proportion of the hospitality industry.

However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many of these students have lost their casual jobs that is a crucial lifeline to support their education fundings.

Many universities, TAFEs, schools, and institutions across Australia rely on international students.

However, there is no huge amount of help readily available for international students from the Australian government. The Australian government has announced billions of dollars relief packages for other industries and workforces, but nothing for international students.

However, they have a huge economic impact on Australia and the vast amount of job opportunities they create for Australians in the teaching and learning fields.

International students at this current stage have very little help. Australian colleges and universities would like to see help from the Australian government for international students, similar to the help people in the hospitality industry and those who have lost their jobs are receiving.

There were calls for the Australian government to extend Medicare and social security benefits to international students. International students need assistance, and just like many Australians, they are currently working in supermarkets, as student nurses, and in other roles. This means they also are helping provide necessary services to keep the Australian economy running during the covid-19 crisis.

They cannot work nor access Medicare benefits. Australian institutions train many international students in hospitality and other related industries, and right now are seeing their students struggling.

They suggest that there will be a huge impact on the educational institutions, also the Australian economy, and the hospitality sector if these students do not receive help.

The Council of International Students Australia (CISA) represents the interests and welfare of the students. It is actively lobbying for the Australian government to provide support to international students.

Nepalese are the third-highest international-students studying in Australia, after India and China. According to a student data 2019 published by the Department of Education, reported explosive growth in international student enrollments. The data showed that 52,000 Nepalese students were enrolled in different universities in Australia alongside China (201,000) and India (101,000).

The largest number of Nepalis in Australia are working in the healthcare sector. This sector might not be vulnerable economically. However, healthcare staff is directly exposed to the threat of the virus.

The Australian government has lifted the 20 hours per week limitation for those students who work in aged care facilities, directly benefited the Nepali students financially.

Apart from the healthcare, the tourism industry is another sector where Nepali students are involved. This includes aviation, hotels, restaurants, and other recreational activities. Most countries have imposed travel bans across the globe, directly affecting the tourism industry.

There are some niches like retail shops, small eateries, cleaning services, and warehouses, where Nepalis, mostly students, work at the moment.

The cleaning sector provides services in public places, offices, malls, and schools. With the encouragement of work-from-home, online-classes, and social distancing, this sector is also on the verge of collapse. Work-from-home might be feasible for white-collar jobs, but the blue-collar workers, where most Nepali students are working, cannot work from home.