National initiatives for international students

Recognised as one the five super growth sectors contributing to Australia’s transition from a resources-based to a modern services economy, international education offers an unprecedented opportunity for Australia to capitalise on increasing global demand for education services.

National Strategy for International Education 2025

In 2016, the Australian Government released Australia’s first National Strategy for International Education 2025 (IE Strategy) highlighting the importance of international education to Australia. This Strategy sets out a 10-year plan to ensure Australia remains a leader in the provision of education services to overseas students. The goals and actions of the IE Strategy have been developed through three lenses: the benefits and opportunities for students, the benefits and opportunities for Australia, and the benefits and opportunities for the world. This balance is essential to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of students, business and industry while we grow.

The IE Strategy also recognises that international education offers opportunities to advance diplomacy through Australian educated alumni who develop lasting connections at personal, organisational and government levels.

The success of the IE Strategy in meeting its objectives will be evaluated using five indicators:

  • Benchmarking against international standards;
  • The employability of graduates;
  • Quality of the student experience;
  • Increased international collaboration and alumni engagement; and
  • Growth in market share from the current level of 6 per cent.

Research training

In 2017, the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) published a range of good practice principles (GPPs) for higher education institutions to consider, with the important caveat that the GPPs are relevant to the research training of all HDR1 candidates (domestic and international):

  1. Treat the academic success and personal wellbeing of international HDR candidates as core business.
  2. Clearly articulate a strategic commitment to reciprocal intercultural supervision as a venue for transformative learning for all candidates, supervisors, disciplines and the university.
  3. Support supervisors of international HDR candidates to participate in professional development for intercultural supervision.
  4. Provide opportunities for HDR candidates, supervisors and the wider university to generate, share and benefit from the presence of international HDR candidates.
  5. Recognise the diversity of international HDR candidates and plan to address the learning needs of each candidate.
  6. Develop a relationship between the institution and international candidates prior to their enrolment.
  7. Continue to develop the relationship between the institution and international HDR candidates beyond graduation.
  8. Provide international HDR candidates with opportunities to advance their English language and broader transferable skills throughout their candidature.

Alumni engagement

To further engage with international alumni, the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016-2020 was released in 2016. This whole of government public diplomacy initiative has been developed in collaboration with Australia’s tertiary education sector and aims to:

“Grow a global alumni community that actively engages and promotes Australia and advances our national interests, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

This mission is addressed by three strategic actions:

  • Connect alumni to each other and to Australia, and connect people working with our alumni to share information, knowledge and resources;
  • Mobilise engagement with alumni through events, professional development, business and research opportunities; and
  • Celebrate the achievements and ongoing two-way linkages between alumni and Australia.

Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation

The Australian Government released Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation strategic plan in February 2018. It covers 30 recommendations and five action areas to optimise Australia’s innovation system. Other strategic opportunities identified in the plan include:

  • Improving access to global talent pools by increasing the profile of Australia as an attractive destination for business builders; and
  • Promoting greater diversity in the research and innovation workforce.

Global Innovation Strategy

In 2016, the Australian Government launched the Global Innovation Strategy as an overarching framework to guide Australia’s international industry, science and innovation collaboration. With an initial investment of $36 million over four years in funding initiatives, the strategy supports economic and science diplomacy efforts to increase international industry–research collaboration and build strong connections within the Asia-Pacific region.


HDR stands for Higher Degree Research. In Australia, our HDR students (known as ‘candidates’) are completing a research degree, usually referring to a PhD. Click here for more information on what this means.