The number of new international students coming to Australia is continuing to drop by more than 32,000 students, or 9.5 per cent, as of the end of October.

Government agency Australian Education International, has reported the number of total enrolments in Australia are down 1.4 per cent at 599,795 students.

The figures come as the Australian government continues to be lobbied by the international education sector to ease the tight Australian Student Visa restrictions that are discouraging applications.

Research by the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy has found that students seeking an Australian Visa have to have substantially more money behind them to qualify compared with other major study destinations such as the US, Canada and Britain.

International students seeking a local visa need to prove they have sufficient funds to cover tuition fees and living costs for the duration of their stay, which for a three-year degree would amount to at least $108,000, the Curtin Institute said.

In contrast, students only need about $40,500 in the US and $23,000-$25,000 in Canada, Britain and New Zealand.

The international education sector is readying itself for a substantial drop in numbers next year.

The Curtin Institute has forecast that falling international student numbers in higher education could cost the economy as many as 19,000 jobs by 2012.

Thanks for the folks over at the Visa Bureau who contributed this article.