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Fact sheet

Fact Check: Would reducing international student visas create university places for Australians?

Student visas Independent politicians University fees International students

Senator Fraser Anning of Katter's Australian Party says migration is a "critical problem" facing the nation. He used his controversial maiden speech to argue for a big reduction in student visas, which he claimed would create more university places for Australians. RMIT ABC Fact Check investigated Senator Anning's claim and found it is ill-informed. There is no trade-off between domestic and international university places. The number of university places available to Australian students is largely determined by the level of Commonwealth funding provided. International students pay full fees (as do a relatively small number of Australian students) and their numbers are set by the universities. They do not take places away from subsidised Australian students. In recent years, universities have dramatically scaled up their facilities to capitalise on significant growth in both international and domestic demand for university places. As experts contacted by Fact Check noted, this process has been significantly funded by full-fee-paying international students, boosting the number of places and facilities available to Australian students. Senator Anning's plan to "drastically" cut the number of international student visas would merely erode a crucial revenue stream for universities, without creating extra places for domestic students.
Verdict: Ill-informed

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