Overseas students, Back Packers, Gap Year Students: An update from Study Gold Coast CEO

While the Gold Coast’s education sector is recovering faster than anticipated the number of international students hasn’t yet reached pre-COVID levels. We know that the Gold Coast is still a very popular global study destination, possibly even more so than it was prior to the pandemic given the relatively low rate of infection here coupled with a highly resourced and well-regarded health system.

The biggest factors hampering the return of international students has been the slowness of visa processing and the slow restoration of international airline services to Brisbane, and to a lesser extent the Gold Coast. We have been lobbying the new Federal Government about the visa situation and the good news is that they are listening, as we have seen an increase in staffing resources to the Department of Home Affairs to help ease this situation, so we are hopeful of a more rapid rate of return of international students in the coming months, particularly as we approach the new calendar year and the first intake of students for 2023.

In terms of numbers, the latest stats we have from DFAT are as follows:

May 2022 international student enrolments on the Gold Coast were down 33% compared to May 2019 (15,353 vs. 21,328), however of the returning students this year there has been a significant increase of 10% in VET enrolments over the same pre-COVID corresponding month.

We are addressing the accommodation crisis as our highest priority, with a push to increase homestay availability in the short term and incentives to develop more student residential facilities in the long term, working with governments, developers and our business partners to resolve this as quickly as possible. At this stage we do not have any anecdotal evidence that the accommodation situation is deterring students, although with no research available on the issue we cannot be certain.

Alfred Slogrove
Chief Executive Officer

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