International student ‘exports’ turn “homeless and hungry” imports

Most students pay their living expenses by competing intensely for jobs with younger Australians, and rely on charitable services to survive.

Leith van Onselen

Last month, The Age’s View wrote that “in 2022, international education earned this country $46.7 billion, which in the words of Universities Australia chief Catriona Jackson makes it ‘the biggest export we don’t source from the ground’ – the only more valuable ones being iron ore, coal and natural gas”.

International education is said to be a lucrative export. The conditions of entry requires students to have the financial capacity to support themselves for a year.

Specifically, according to the Department of Home Affairs website, students must have:

Sufficient funds to cover your travel costs and 12 months of living and tuition fees for you and your accompanying family members and school costs for any school aged dependants, or

Evidence that your spouse or parents are willing to support you and they have an annual income of at least AUD 60,000 for single students or at least AUD 70,000 for students that are accompanied by family members.

The reality is that most students come from disadvantaged countries with limited financial means and then work to cover their living expenses and course fees.

A considerable number of ‘students’ also travel to Australia on bogus courses with the express intention of working and living in Australia.

In either case, international education is not an export because most students cover their tuition and living expenses with money earned while working in Australia.

Nonetheless, the ABS, Treasury, the education sector, and the media incorrectly classify such expenditures on living expenses and course fees as exports.

The international education export myth was exposed last month when the Herald-Sun reported that demand for free food services and food banks has soared across Melbourne’s universities, with 85% of this demand coming from international students.

The majority (85%) of students using these service are international and three quarters are undergraduate, according to the report.

Now, a Monash University report, provided exclusively to Guardian Australia, claims international students in Australia are ending up homeless and hungry, and has called for greater taxpayer support.

“There are 182,000 international students currently living in Melbourne, representing almost 40% of Victoria’s entire university population”, according to The Guardian.

“The report found almost half those surveyed experienced food insecurity – triple the rate of the wider population”.

“Co-author of the report Dr Beatriz Gallo Cordoba said she was shocked by how “at the brink” of hardship the interviewees were”.

“She said international students needed more support, including with food relief, financial support, vouchers or scholarships”.

While we sympathise with their plight, what is the point of having international education “exports” that are more accurately classified as the working poor?

Most students pay their living expenses by competing intensely for jobs with younger Australians, and rely on charitable services to survive.

This is displacement for both international students and unemployed locals alike.

The truth is that international education is not a legitimate “export”. They are part of the immigration Ponzi scheme, which is designed to drive up asset prices while suppressing wages, destroying living standards for younger and working people.

When international students become a drain on charitable services, then the economic and human value to the nation truly turns negative.

Instead of funnelling scarce taxpayer funding to foreign students, financial requirements for entry should be significantly lifted and enforced.

About the author: Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

Courtesy: Macro Business

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.