Australia is welcoming more international students than ever before.
At some universities, overseas students now account for more than a quarter of enrolments, according to new Department of Education figures.
Last year, the number of international students in Australia increased by 12 per cent to 542,054 enrolments. That compares with 305,534 total enrolments five years ago.
Students from China make up the largest proportion of students at 31 per cent, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.
But universities have been seeking to diversify their international student markets, and the latest figures show there have been big rises in the numbers of students from Brazil and Colombia.
Western Australia has even opened up a market for students from Bhutan, with almost 1,000 students from that country enrolled in courses at WA institutions this year.
Grattan Institute higher education program director, Andrew Norton, said some universities were making huge profits out of the international student market.
"Because the Government has effectively capped the number of domestic students, international students are becoming an increasing percentage of all students," Mr Norton told ABC News.
"A lot of that revenue to universities is being invested in buildings and in research activities."
International students are concentrated in the larger Group of Eight universities and technology universities.
"That means there are huge numbers of international students living in the inner cities of Australia's big capitals," Mr Norton said.
High level of education
Australian universities continue to attract large numbers of Chinese students because of the high level of education, which they say is on par with the US and UK.
The value of the international student market has increased 22 per cent since 2016 and is now worth $32.2 billion a year.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was committed to maintaining a stable regime of visa entry rules to provide certainty for international students.
International education is now Australia’s third largest export sector.
"We'll continue to work to promote the value of our education system to the rest of the world," Mr Birmingham said.
Universities Australia's chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.
Source: ABC news