Media releases

Melbourne welcomes international students with open arms

20 February 2023

The City of Melbourne is dedicated to being Australia’s number one city for student experience and will this week welcome back international students with free tickets to iconic events, employment seminars and welcome sessions as university O-Week brings hundreds of thousands of students into the CBD.

More than 104,000 international student visa holders have chosen Victoria for their studies in 2023 – a 33 per cent increase on January 2022. Students from India make up the largest cohort at 22 per cent, followed by students from China at 20 per cent.

Pedestrian activity around the city’s universities has risen in recent weeks, with average weekday activity up almost 60 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Council will support a range of activities across the city in February and March to welcome new and returning international students, including:

  • The My Melbourne program, which provides free tickets to iconic Melbourne events such as the Moomba Festival, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
  • The Lord Mayor’s Student Welcome at the Queen Victoria Market’s Summer Night Market
  • A speed-friendship session for international students, as part of Melbourne Conversations
  • O-Week stalls at RMIT University and the University of Melbourne attended by councillors
  • The annual Melbourne International Student Conference in partnership with Meld Community
  • Employment seminars and health and wellbeing sessions at The Couch International Student Centre

At Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors will also consider a range of measures to support international students and leverage Melbourne’s status as Australia’s number one student city.

This includes investigating the creation of a ‘Student Welcome Centre’, and the development of an international student internship program, with mentoring and work experience opportunities to boost student employability.

These actions build on Council’s continued advocacy work with the Federal Government, pushing to increase the duration of post-study work rights by allowing two additional years of stay for recent graduates.

For more information about programs, events and advocacy work for international students, visit the City of Melbourne.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“International students are part of the lifeblood of Melbourne, adding significantly to our city’s cultural vibrancy and atmosphere.”

“We know their strong return will also have significant economic benefits – creating jobs and driving up spending at city businesses.”

“Prior to the pandemic, more than 150,000 international students lived in Victoria, contributing $13.7 billion a year to the state’s economy. We’re determined to get back to those levels by making Melbourne the world’s best city for student experience.”

Quotes attributable to Education and Innovation portfolio lead Councillor Davydd Griffiths

“As international students return to our shores, we want them to feel supported and appreciated, with a Melbourne experience that is overwhelmingly positive.”

“We’re proud to work closely with our international student community to make them feel at home, showing them everything our great city has to offer – from our world-class restaurants to our spectacular events.”

“To maintain our status as Australia’s number one student city, we must continue to explore new activities and advocacy work which improves the experience for all students.”

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20 February 2023

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