Policy Inaction on International Student Welfare in Australia

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A new study has found that the Australian government has failed to adequately address the welfare of international students. The research, conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and Deakin University, analyzed government policies related to international education from 1966 to 2023.


Despite welfare being a well-known issue, the researchers found that the government has only mentioned student welfare in four pieces of legislation. This lack of attention to student welfare has been described as a form of “policy inaction” by Professor Gaby Ramia from the University of Sydney.

The study also found that proposed guidelines for institutions to develop student support policies do not adequately address the specific needs of international students. Additionally, only three universities were found to have public mental health strategies that directly addressed the well-being of international students.

Professor Ramia has suggested several steps that the government could take to improve the welfare of international students, including considering the support needs of international students in the policy development process and making mental health strategies a regulatory requirement for tertiary providers.

Australian Department of Education:

The Australian Department of Education has acknowledged the importance of international students’ safety and welfare, but the research findings suggest that more needs to be done to protect and support this important group of international students.

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