A proposal to cap the intake of international students in Australia could potentially be harmful to the property markets and the overall economy.

In a joint statement, the Student Accommodation Council and the Property Council of Australia raised concerns on the Australian University Accord review into Australia’s Higher Education system, which considers capping the intake of international students.

Student Accommodation Council acting executive director Adina Cirson said the proposal takes a narrow view of the contribution students make to the communities, the economy, and relationships with the region.

“To hear that caps were ‘definitely on the table’ and being considered for an interim report to be handed down by the end month, with no consultation on such a significant policy shift, is very concerning,” she said.

“A cap on the number of overseas students will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences.”

A study from the Property Council of Australia and the Student Accommodation Council released November 2022 showed that 16% of students stay on to work in Australia after their study is completed and are critical to alleviating workforce shortages.

In 2019, around 300,000 international tourists entered Australia to visit an international student.

“This tourism activity is estimated to have contributed an additional $1bn in spending to the Australian economy,” Ms Cirson said.

“International students also provide a rich cultural tapestry and diversity that symbolises a modern and relevant economy enriching all Australians.”

For Ms Cirson, it is critical for Australia to recognize the contribution of international students to the economy.

Latest reports from CoreLogic and PropTrack showed that the housing markets, in particular, were able to sustain gains in recent months due to an increasing demand from overseas migrants.

“The benefits of attracting international students are critical to our economic recovery and would create great uncertainty about maintaining Australia’s highest performing service export – valued at some $40bn prior to the pandemic,” Ms Cirson said.

“We are calling for caps to be taken off the table until genuine engagement with those who will be most impacted, and the long-term consequences of such a recommendation, can be seriously considered.”


Photo by Helgy on Canva.