The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Australia, like many other countries around the world, and has allowed us to recognise the vulnerabilities within industry sectors. Throughout the pandemic, CAPA and NATSIPA have been vocal in the media and in submissions highlighting the inadequate support for international students and the consequence of inaction.
The COVID restrictions highlighted many inequalities between international students and their domestic counterparts. Unstable income flow, inadequate social or family support network, unexpected changes to academic progression and visa restrictions negatively affect international students’ experience. Consequently, these barriers are likely to have contributed to the slow recovery of international student enrolments.
For international students, Australia was a selection from a list of countries that could have invested in. their education. They would agree to the conditions of a student visa and contribute to Australia’s economy through employment and paying taxes. From their perspective, they had chosen Australia over other countries that also offered a world-class education.
At the height of the pandemic, international students in Australia had hoped their choice was worthy of recognition by governments and universities and that they would respond compassionately to this unprecedented crisis. Sadly the response fell short of their expectations leaving many disappointed and treated as ‘cash cows’.
Our submission will address the impact of the loss of international students on the higher education sector and make recommendations that will restore credibility among international students.