9 May 2019: If you are a Nepalese Australian who often wonders how come you can’t go anywhere in Sydney and Melbourne without seeing few fellow Nepalese then you may have your answer in the analysis of a seasoned Australian journalist.
In the wake of Four Corner’s report about the quality of international students in Australia and a dramatic rise in academic misconduct, a scholarly website supported by the Swinburne University of Technology and the University of South Australia has turned its attention on “the little Himalayan country of Nepal”.
The writer, former Age economics editor Tim Colebath, has warned that if the current rate of influx of Nepalese immigrants is to continue then Australia may soon have more residents born in Nepal than in Greece.
An article recently published on the Inside Story questions how come Nepal, based on the number of arrivals from the South Asian country in the financial year 2017/18, is sending one in every 1500 of its citizens to Australia.
“In an era of strict immigration controls, that is an astonishing number for two countries so far apart, with no common language, heritage or ethnicity,” the well-respected journalist writes.
In the five year period to mid-2018, one in every 500 Nepalese people migrated to Australia, the article further revealed. The Department of Home Affairs also recently mentioned the fact that whereas Nepal is the third largest supplier of international students to Australia, it is only the 47th largest country in the world.
According to the writer, this is not the first time that the number of Nepalese migrants has surged in Australia. “A decade ago, we saw a scam with training visas, in which “students” from India and Nepal came for training courses in Australia, then quickly vanished into the workforce. The scam saw net immigration set record levels in 2008–09, before then immigration minister Chris Evans shut it down. But most of those who came stayed on here,” Mr Colebath further states in his piece.
Despite all the hullabaloo in the media, the international education sector is not slowing down at all. There were 554,188 students in the country as of February 2019 which was 9% more compared to February 2018.
There were 582,883 international enrolments as of February, Department of Education and Training data show, out of which 56% were for higher education while 26% were for VET. Industry experts say the number of Nepalese students applying for VET sector courses is likely to fall considerably given Department of Home Affairs’ new policy of requiring them to show evidence of financial and language capacities.
During the 2017-18 financial year, the international education industry injected $32.4 billion to the Australian economy making it the third largest export industry of the country.
With $12.18 billion, NSW was the leading state followed by Victoria which made $10.62 billion.