Labor’s Claimed Cap On Overseas Students Is All Talk, No Action

Written by:
17 May 2024
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In this article, Daniel Wild contextualises and disseminates the findings of the the IPA’s research into Australia’s level of immigration, and how it’s affecting the standard of living.


Labor’s cap on international students will not actually limit the number of students entering Australia. So how can it be called a cap?


You know you are in trouble when even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the world’s most hapless leaders, is more on the ball with immigration than our own government.

Australia has experienced the single largest expansion to our population in history, with more than one million net migrants arriving over the past two years. There has been no plan for where they will live, or for the pressure such numbers exert on school, roads, and hospitals.

The lion’s share of migration has been international students. So, in response to community anger towards its out-of-control mass-migration program, the federal government recently announced it would impose a cap on the entry of international students into Australia.

To most people, a cap means a hard and fast limit, which cannot be exceeded without penalty. A speed limit is a cap on how fast you are allowed to drive. A cap on migration would mean a specific number that cannot be exceeded.

But when you read the government’s draft legislation, the supposed cap on international students is a cap in name only.

Earlier this year, the Canadian government cut its international student intake by a one third, which will result in 180,000 fewer international students this year.

If Australia imposed the same reduction, there would be approximately 85,000 fewer students. This would free up around 34,000 homes for rent or purchase by Australians in one year alone, or 100,000 houses over the next three years.

Most Australians would be stunned to learn that the government was previously operating without a cap of any kind, meaning universities were in effect setting Australia’s key migration intake settings around international students.

Even the government’s own review of the migration system, released in December 2023, outlined the substantial failures of the government’s record intake of international students. The review itself stated “through their contribution to population growth, international students place pressure on housing and local infrastructure”.

Until there is a hard cap on migrant numbers, Australians will continue to pay the price.

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