Feels like the world has turned upside down since the pandemic began. With the decline in the International student applications, not only OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) policies have been affected but also revenue coming in the form of goods and services spent in the wider economy.
Since, the entire ball game of OSHC health insurance depends upon the inbound student mobility - which determines the future of OSHC for Australia amid pandemic.
The State of OSHC Before Pandemic
To begin with, let us give you a gist of a report from the Institute of International Education. The report is based on the reporting year 2020 besides academic level, the field of study, and inbound and outbound student mobility.
The report also stated that the inbound and outbound student mobility for Australia has seen a steady rise since 2013-2020. But, when the world observed the onset of COVID-19 causing the global outbreak, the numbers depicting the migration of international students to Australia & other destinations stated otherwise.
Not to mention, this also hampered the number of OSHC for Australia. Government-approved OSHC providers such as ahm oshc, oshc Medibank, etc., have been able to rake in numbers because of the online mode of study. Students still mandatorily need to opt for OSHC health insurance whether onshore or offshore.
How Much Admissions & OSHC Got Affected Since COVID-19
Australia’s higher education industry got severely affected and saw a drastic reduction in the existing international students and the ones inside Australia.
A few excerpts from a report by the Mitchell Institute for Education & Health Policy at Victoria University:
Number of offshore student applications are down by 80-90% as compared to 2019
Approx 210,000 fewer international students in Australia than would otherwise be expected
If travel restrictions continue until July 2022, there would be a reduction of over 410,000 compared to Oct’19
Expected to affect $21.4 billion in revenue associated with international education coming in the form of goods and services spent in the wider economy.
You can also go through the complete report here:
The Impact of Travel Restrictions On Admissions & Health Insurance
International students not only help regional health insurance service providers in terms of OSHC policies but also contribute a lot to the Australian economy in various ways. The numbers will potentially affect the expenditure on property, retail, transport, and many other good & service sectors.
The report highlighted that from April’2020 till September’2020, the number of international student enrollments has decreased by approximately 12%. Moreover, on the contrary, the number of international students outside Australia has risen to over 135,000 since March 2020.
The Future of OSHC for Australia Amid Pandemic
Nothing can be said about the future of OSHC for Australia until the situation of the coronavirus pandemic improves. The continuous efforts to get people vaccinated across the globe are already on the way. However, losses related to the international student will continue to grow unless few changes will be made in the current migration policy.
The existing migration policy has a gigantic effect on Australia’s higher international education sector. The below-represented figure from the Department of Home Affairs identifies the significant changes in migration policy related to international students.
The first major shift happened in 2009 when the Australian government dissociated student visas from permanent residency visas - making it difficult for students to obtain PR. The second major change happened during 2011-2012. Wherein, the ‘Knight Review’ reformed the visa eligibility criteria for international students & created more opportunities for graduates to work in Australia once they complete their studies. Third and the most important & recent one which we all saw when the government imposed travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.
As we saw at the beginning of the post, international student enrollments and OSHC health insurance go hand-in-hand, a mere change in the number of students will undoubtedly affect the number of OSHC policies. Authorized bodies are working on the issue but until then the Australian higher education system is facing a huge challenge in generating revenue not only for the universities & colleges but also for the other sectors that are intertwined with it.
However, for now, it remains a case of Ifs and Buts. The more critical question lurking on aspiring international students and those who are studying offshore is ‘When’ they’ll be able to travel or study onshore.
It is quite obvious that in a way, the coronavirus outbreak has brought humanity closer than ever before and made us more compassionate towards each other. In such a wake, policymakers & government bodies should make dire attempts to build a fair international student education model to benefit every key sector involved including international students, universities, and other allied industries.
The OSHC is a condition mandated by the Department of Home Affairs for a student visa. Overseas applicants have to maintain adequate health insurance arrangements for the intended duration, or the visa will be refused.
A student can purchase OSHC for Australia directly from the university, insurer’s website, migration agent, education agents or can even visit getmypolicy.online to make an easy OSHC comparison by price, features, benefits, and more.