Aug 27, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

The second biggest destination for international students is no longer the UK, according to recent data from University College London (UCL).

It's Australia.

According to a recent article on the BBC website, Australia's skyrocketing international student numbers have given British officials cause for concern.

Professor Simon Marginson, one of the study's authors, said that not only is Australia surpassing the UK, Canada's slice of the international student pie has gotten bigger, too. 

He explained that just three years ago, the UK recruited about 130,000 more students than Australia. Australia's successive years of 12-14 percent increases have given Australia the necessary edge in catching up. 

"UK higher education is still highly valued internationally, but the government has held down the growth of international student numbers for five years, by limiting new student numbers and post-study work visas," Marginson said. "Meanwhile, competitor nations are strongly promoting their international education."

Australia's success? Its marketing strategy. The country markets itself as an English-speaking destination for international students, with a welcoming culture and booming multicultural cities. It also has the 485 visa, which permits those who finish at least two-year degrees to stay for two years after study (or up to four depending on the qualification). 

In addition to students from across Europe, Australia recruits a significant part of its international student population from China.

What's the UK to do while Australia's international higher education scene takes off?

With Brexit fast approaching, a British Council spokeswoman said the UK is working on "welcoming visa policies" and "comprehensive international education strategies."

Learn more about studying in Australia.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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