Thursday, July 18, 2024

Australia to crack down on student visa exploitation

The Australian government on Monday announced a crackdown on international student visa scams.

Education Minister Jason Clare, Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil flagged immediate action to boost the integrity of Australia’s lucrative international education industry, reports Xinhua news agency.

Following a government-commissioned rapid review into the exploitation of Australia’s visa system, the government will strengthen regulations to prevent the widespread rorting of the system, they said in a joint statement on Monday.

“The party is over, the rorts and loopholes that have plagued this system will be shut down,” O’Neil said.

Under the crackdown, private colleges will be banned from paying commissions to education agents for poaching international students from rival institutions to prevent agents from luring students away from high-quality universities to low-fee courses.

The government will also start monitoring international student attendance in a bid to stop migrants from using student visas purely for the purpose of working in Australia.

According to daily newspaper the Australian Financial Review, the number of student visa holders in Australia hit an all-time high of 660,765 at the end of June, an increase of 203,000 from the start of 2023.

Data published by the Department of Education in September revealed international education was worth A$26.6 billion ($17 billion) to Australia’s economy in the calendar year 2022, making it the country’s fourth-biggest export behind coal, iron ore and natural gas.

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