ITECA Members Offer International Education Strategy Input

Date —

31 May 2021

Education Sector/s —
International Education

Summary —

In its submission to the Australian Government to support a new international education strategy, the membership of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is calling for a new Australian International Education Commission and closer links between post-secondary study and skilled migration.

Key Issues —

The Australian Government is consulting on a next-generation strategy for international education and the ITECA membership framed the context of the advice that was tendered on behalf of independent providers in the higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors.

Australia’s independent vocational education and training sector is worthy of particular recognition. The NCVER reports that, in 2019, there were 224,430 undertaking a vocational education and training course in Australia. Around 85%, or 190,570, of these were studying with independent providers.

The development of the Strategy comes at a time of crisis for Australia’s international sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closure of international borders has certainly insulated the Australian population from the worst aspects of the health crisis, but what cannot be denied is that the impact on the international education sector has been severe. Overall, onshore international student visa holders in Australia have dropped by almost 176,000 in the year to 29 March 2021, . And when compared to the same time a year earlier, the sector experienced a fall of more than 111,000 international student enrolments by the end of March 2021. This creates a context in which bold reform is necessary.

Throught the ITECA International Education Policy committee, five recommendations were put to the Australian Government as it considers a new strategy, these being:


ITECA Recommendations 
Australian International Education Strategy


Recommendation 1 ―
That the data collection and analysis tools and mechanisms in respect of overseas students and the international education sector more broadly be modernised and streamlined under the remit of a new Australian International Education Commission. by Australian education providers.

Recommendation 2 ―
That a new Australian International Education Commission be established that brings together administrative, and selected regulatory functions, associated with the provision by Australian businesses and public institutions of education to overseas students.

Recommendation 3 ―
That an investment be made to modernise the existing IT reporting infrastructure relied on by providers and all government agencies alike to ensure it becomes fit for purpose and fitting of a modern first-tier pillar of the Australian economy.

Recommendation 4 ―
A single approach to marketing international education is needed, founded upon Australia inherent competitive advantages and the attractiveness of individual regions

Recommendation 5 ―
That visa arrangements be revisited to enable students who were in Australia at the beginning of the pandemic (March 2020) and who have subsequently remained onshore, completed their qualifications and whose qualifications (at completion) are in an area of skills need, have the ability to apply for a broader post-study work arrangements. Further, for this limited group of students, this should be extended to the possibility of ultimately residency, where their skills are in areas of ongoing need.

In its submission to the Australian Government to support a new international education strategy, the membership of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is calling for a new Australian International Education Commission and closer links between post-secondary study and skilled migration.


ITECA Submission Download 
A New Australian International Education Strategy

  ◾ ITECA Recommendations On A New International Education Strategy [PDF]

On behalf of independent tertiary education providers, ITECA looks forward to working with the Government on the development of the new international education strategy. The challenges before the sector are real and ramifications will endure beyond the reopening of international borders. It is expected that the recovery, to pre-pandemic levels, will take some years. What will be certain is that the sector will be different, with international students supported in new and innovative ways.

In the blueprint for the next Australian Parliament, the Seven Priorities For A Skilled And Educated Workforce, ITECA is calling for an immediate plan to rebuild Australia’s capacity and reputation to support international students, backed by a new International Education Commission tasked with implementing the new Australian international education strategy.

Getting Involved —

Members in the international education sector play a lead role in setting the framework for ITECA's engagement with the Australian Government through their participation in the ITECA International Education Reference Group.  ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.

Further Information —

If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you.  Simply send an email to or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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