A recent online survey of 1600 international students in more than 10 Australian Universities shows that 24 percent are interested in studying overseas to gain permanent residence. This is up five percent compared to a similar survey in 2005. The recent changes to the Australian immigration system which will make it more difficult for many students to gain a permanent residence visa may therefore put off many prospective students interested in Australia.
The new Australian immigration system gives priority to skilled migrants with a job offer. Also, the new Skilled Occupations List will in future, most likely, only include more highly skilled occupations. It is felt that the latest Australian immigration changes will cause serious problems for private colleges; This has been the faster growing sector of Australia's $17 billion-a-year international education industry.
There has been a great deal of bad publicity following a number of attacks on Indian, especially in Melbourne. However, it was still felt that Australia is the safest place to study; Safer in fact than the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
The main issue that students consider when choosing a Country is the quality of education. However, two thirds of those surveyed also took into account safety when making their decision. Indians put "good career prospects" ahead of safety when making a decision.
Overall students felt that Australia was ''a safe country'' and also felt that it was a multicultural and tolerant society. Students are happy with their Australian study experience with only 6 per cent saying that they were not satisfied; Nine percent of Indians who responded to the survey expressed dissatisfaction with their experience in Australia.