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    Sydney economy loses $2.5billion due to loss of international students in COVID-19

    Mass exodus of international students due to the COVID-19 pandemic has already cost $2.5billion in Sydney alone – with restaurant owners and landlords begging for Australia’s hard border to be relaxed

    • Australia’s population of international students is expected to halve next year
    • It’s estimated overseas students contribute $35,000 to the economy each year
    • Sydney has lost 72,000 international students since the pandemic began  
    • Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat as rental prices fall dramatically 

    The mass exit of international students in Sydney due to the coronavirus pandemic has cost the city $2.5billion, with fears growing that the whole country will be set back by up to $10billion.

    Australia’s population of international students is set to halve by mid next year, with just 300,000 left in the country if tight border restrictions continue, research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute showed. 

    This has devastated rental properties across Sydney and Melbourne as well as a string of small businesses and restaurants.

    The average international student contributes $35,000 to the economy each year. 

    Sydney’s economy has lost $2.5billion due to the exodus of international students during the coronavirus pandemic, research showed (pictured Chinese international students at Sydney airport) 

    Currently there are 210,000 less international students in Australia than there usually would be at this time of the year. 

    Dr Peter Hurley, the author of the report, said the issue would continue to affect more cities around Australia. 

    ‘The initial population shock most affected regions where Chinese international students lived, but future declines are likely to involve international students from all countries,’ he said.

    ‘This means the impact of falling international student enrollments will become more widespread.’

    Sydney has lost 72,000 overseas students so far, resulting in the $2.5billion hit to the economy, with this number only expected to grow.

    The suburbs with the biggest drops have been Waterloo and Beaconsfield which have lost 3,550 students.

    Haymarket and The Rocks have lost 3,380 international students while Kingsford lost 2,840.

    Currently there are 210,000 less international students in Australia than there usually would be for this time of year (Chinese international students at Sydney University)

    Currently there are 210,000 less international students in Australia than there usually would be for this time of year (Chinese international students at Sydney University)

    Pang Gunawan, who has run a printing company in Kingsford in the city’s east for 27 years, said the impact had been devastating.

    ‘It’s totally dead now. This is the worst ever, in my experience. We’ve had a 75 per cent drop in business. It’s very stressful,’ he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

    Queenie Thai, who runs Phoodle Eatery also in Kingsford, said her restaurant was unrecognisable after the pandemic. 

    ‘We have lost about 70 per cent of our business since COVID. People rely on the international students here. It is the quietest I’ve ever seen it,’ she said.

    Meanwhile, student visa applications have fallen by 90 per cent compared to this time last year.

    To make up for the mass exodus of overseas students, rent prices have fallen dramatically.

    In Sydney suburbs Kingsford and Kensington, rent has fallen by eight per cent while in Pyrmont accommodation prices have dropped by 15 per cent. 

    It's estimated that the average international student contributes around $35,000 to the economy (coronavirus lecture at Sydney University)

    It’s estimated that the average international student contributes around $35,000 to the economy (coronavirus lecture at Sydney University)

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