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16 December 2022

Competition is continuing to intensify across the top three destinations

Australia male swimmer in the pull

In every round of our Navitas Agent Perception survey since September 2020 (Round 2), Canada and the UK have been neck and neck as the top two destinations in terms of student interest [Figure 1]. Open borders and attractive post-study work policies kept both destinations very attractive in this period.

After two years of trailing behind due to closed borders, Australia – on the back of a sustained post-reopening momentum – has finally broken through and joins the UK and Canada on stage in this round, with 80%+ of respondents reporting increased interest across all three destinations.

Neil Fitzroy, Navitas’ General Manager Marketing and Sales, Australasia comments:

“This latest data endorses all of the conversations we’ve been having with university partners, agents and prospective students – that closed borders are a distant memory and interest in Australia and New Zealand has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. This is further evidenced by historically high student visa application data across the last quarter – at a normally quieter time of the calendar year. With a sustained focus from providers on student well-being, innovative teaching and learning models, a new Federal Government and an increasingly competitive post-study work offer – there is every reason for optimism for Australia as we head into 2023”.

Graph showing details of Dec 2022

The US saw a surge in interest between the September 2020 (Round 2) and March 2021 (Round 3) survey rounds, attributable in part to the elections that brought in Joe Biden and the hope of a more friendly climate for international students and potential migrants. Interest in the US improved further by October 2021 but has seen a gradual softening since then; the share of respondents noting increased interest in the US fell from 73% to 70%, and then to 66% between October 2021 and 2022.

Blake Egbert, Director, Marketing and Admissions at our Queens College campus in New York shares his thoughts on factors impacting the US as a destination:

“Currency rates, political environment, and safety concerns (e.g. the recent gun violence cases) could impact students’ decision making in study abroad choices as temporary reactions to these situations.”

However, even with current challenges and competition from the UK and Canada, F1 visa grants into the US have seen an increase over last year (Jan-Sep period). India, in particular, has demonstrated strong interest with F1 visa grants for the Jan-Sep this year climbing 40% over the same time last year.

New Zealand is seeing a gradual recovery in student interest with borders re-opening and visas being issued again. In the most recent round of the survey, 59% of respondents perceived an increased interest in New Zealand, up significantly from 20% a year ago.


Jon Chew

Jon Chew is the Global Head of Insights and Analytics at Navitas, and is one of Australia's foremost experts in international education market trends. The key theme throughout Jon's work has been the interrogation and interpretation of diverse quantitative and qualitative data to uncover the underlying narrative and meaning. His ultimate goal is to influence critical decisions through clear, rigorous and actionable insights. Jon's approach is characterised by deep technical expertise, storytelling, and a genuinely collaborative approach. Jon is passionate about education and is himself a product of global mobility having grown up in Malaysia and making the transition to university many years ago via a pathway program.
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