Figures released recently showed a 12% increase in the number of foreign students in Australia compared to the same period last year, more than 500,000 for the year, according to new government figures.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said Australia has taken in some 510,000 international students from over 190 countries this year.
The number of Nepalese students jumped 54%, while there was a 29% increase in students from Colombia.
The number of Brazilian students bound for Tasmania more than tripled, and Western Australia saw a one-third jump in its number of Bhutanese student arrivals.
China makes up the largest proportion of students from a single country at 31%, followed by India, Nepal and Malaysia at 12, 5 and 4% respectively.
Mr Birmingham said international students are extremely valuable to Australia.
“International education is vital to the people-to-people links and knowledge sharing between Australia and the rest of the world,” he said.
“Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown the value of international education jumped 22% from 2016 to $32.2 billion last year.”
Universities Australia’s chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.
“We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia’s third-largest export sector,” Ms Robinson said.
“This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.
“These half a million international students will become tomorrow’s global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation’s worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics.”
The number accounts for students enrolled in higher education, vocational education and training (VET), Schools, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and non-award sectors.