Australian universities have experienced a major surge in interest from Hongkongers looking to migrate since China imposed a sweeping national security law on the city and the Morrison government announced a safe haven visa package in response.
Migration agents and international education sector figures have confirmed the political turmoil in Hong Kong has driven an unusually high level of enquiries and applications, with many citizens of the former British colony worried about Beijing's escalating crackdown.
The political upheaval in Hong Kong has fuelled a surge in interest for Australian student visas. CREDIT:LAM YIK FEI/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Ursula Ng, managing director of the Advisory Centre for Australian Education, said a "quite significant" spike in interest had followed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement earlier this month of a new visa scheme for Hongkongers, including a five-year graduate visa for students and a pathway to permanent residency.
"I think it is after our government has given the safe pathway to Australia for Hong Kong people because of the Chinese security law being imposed. It is really after that," Ms Ng said, estimating that enquiries had increased by more than 50 per cent.
Resource: SMH By Fergus Hunter