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Visa reforms to make studying easier for international students

INTERNATIONAL students will find it easier to study at TAFE and similar institutions under streamlined visa reforms to be introduced in NSW.

The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said all international students will need less documentary evidence under the reforms, which will bring visa requirements for vocational education and training providers in line with universities.

"It will put us back in the game as we compete with other education markets around the world,'' Mr O'Farrell said.

International student enrolments at NSW vocational education and training providers dropped by just over 20 per cent between 2009 and 2011, according to state government figures.

The Premier said international education was a $6 billion industry for NSW - the second-largest in terms of exports.

"We have the largest international education industry in Australia but in recent years it has been hit by the double whammy of visa changes and the high Australian dollar,'' he said.


There are 230,000 international students enrolled in NSW. The most popular subjects are business and management, food and hospitality and accounting.

Pam Christie, the deputy director general of TAFE NSW, yesterday welcomed the changes.

''It will make NSW more globally competitive with other countries that provide international education - like Canada, the US and Europe,'' she said.