NSW welcomes record numbers of international students

Media release | 2 March 2017

Based on current growth trends, international student enrolments across NSW will hit 300,000 in 2017, after a record year in 2016 when enrolments grew by 11.1% to 268,500.

NSW’s higher education sector saw the biggest enrolment growth nationwide in 2016 at 15.3% year on year, and remains the most popular destination with 106,160 enrolments.

Minister for Trade Niall Blair says as NSW’s biggest service export sector, international education has become a key economic focus for the state.

“It’s no surprise that NSW is the top choice study destination in Australia for international students. Through StudyNSW, the government is building a truly world class environment for overseas students to pursue their education and thrive in our vibrant, multicultural state,” Mr Blair said.

“As NSW’s biggest service export, international education brought $7.2 billion into our economy in 2015-16. To grow this sector the government is focused on creating the best environment possible for international students choosing to call NSW home”.

Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather says the Welcome Desk at T1 International is an important first touch point for international students on arrival.

“2016 saw our strongest international passenger growth in 12 years,” said Ms Mather.

“For many of our international visitors, including international students, stepping off the plane at Sydney Airport is their first experience of Australia. The Welcome Desk is a great initiative that engages directly with these students to ensure they are welcomed and assisted from the minute they arrive.”

2016 saw international students from across the world choose NSW as their study destination. The largest source countries for enrolments included:

  • China (74,477)
  • Thailand (19,139)
  • India (18,900)
  • Nepal (14,366)
  • Korea (14,269)

The biggest year-on-year growth markets in 2015-16 were Brazil (24.5%), Nepal (19.7%) and China (14.4%).

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