More young people in Latin America are choosing to study in Australia probably because it is quicker to get a visa for the country that for others nearby such as the United States, it is claimed.
While countries like the United States have made it increasingly difficult for Latin Americans to obtain a student visa, Australian universities have seen success in promoting to these potential students, with a rise in Australian student visa applications from these countries.
Also representatives from Australian universities are increasingly making regular visits to college fairs in countries like Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Chile.
Also some Australian universities have comprehensive Spanish language websites which encourages and informs young people from many South American countries.
Experts also point out that student visa regulations have been eased and improved recently in terms of the time it takes to be granted a visa and also the amount of money a student needs to reside in Australia.
South American students have also been offered an increasing number of scholarships by Australian education institutions.
Margaret Gardner, vice chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Chair of the Education Advisory Group of the Council for Australia-Latin America Relations said there has been a concerted effort to encourage students from Latin America to consider studying in Australia.
In 2004, there were just 7,500 Latin Americans in Australia but in 2007 there were over 20,000, figures show.
According to the Association of International Educators, although the United States still receives a lion’s share of international students, the number has increasingly been dropping over the last decade. This is attributed to tighter US visa regulations and the increasingly prohibitive cost of education.
According to Francisco Marmolejo, executive director of the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, Latin American students are not applying to study in the US in the same numbers because they realise that opportunities in other countries are increasingly open to them.