11 May 2019: Australia’s income from Nepalese international students has been constantly on the rise with data from last financial year showing it has now crossed well over the billion dollar mark.
Government statistics for 2017-18 financial year reveal students from the Himalayan nation contributed $1.6 billion to the Australian economy.
The latest figures of contribution made by the Nepalese students represent an increase of 55% over the previous financial year when they had injected a little over one billion dollars to the local economy.
Dr Anupam Pokharel, an Australia-based consultant psychiatrist of Nepalese origin, opines that the $1.6 billion surely is not the only financial value Nepalese international students create as they study and work down under.
Asked what he thought about the impressive figures for a small country like Nepal, the former president of the Nepalese Association of Victoria (NAV) responded in the form of counter-questions to southasia.com.au: “So, do you think that’s the only contribution these tens of thousands of students would have made? How many rental properties would have remained vacant had these students not been here? How much cheap labor, in terms of dollar value, they would have provided to local businesses? How much more would they have contributed to the health insurance industry?”
In fiscal year 2011/2012, Nepalese students had contributed only $567 million. However, it was not until 2016-17 financial year the export income from the Nepalese students crossed the billion dollar mark.
The hierarchy of source countries in terms of financial contribution to the Australian economy has remained constant for quite a few years now with China at the lead followed by India and Nepal.
Chinese students are generally regarded as “quality students” in that they tend to attend top universities in the country. Their contribution last year was $11 billion whereas Indian students contributed $3.7 billion.
During 2017-18, the international education sector became Australia’s third largest export industry generating some $32.4 billion.
According to government data, there were 43,021 Nepalese students in Australia in December 2018 which was 51% increase over the corresponding 2017 figures. Students from the 48th largest country in the world accounted for 6% of the total international student cohort in Australia in December 2018.