Student Visa Fraud in Australia Up Sharply
Australian student visa fraud is at all-time high. The number of student visas cancelled by the Australian government has tripled in the last two years.Figures revealed by The Australian claim that student visa cancellations have doubled from 1,978 in 2012 to 4,940 in 2013. This comes in result of the change in system to Streamlined Visa Processing that is available to some education providers.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection identifies around 1,000 students who with the help of Streamlined Visa Processing arrives in the country and later illegally moves into unaccredited and often cheaper colleges. Rod Camm, CEO of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training claims that with the extension of SVP to VET colleges, it has opened up more entry routes for bogus students. Camm claims that it’s the extreme case where the students hop the course with the motivation to work rather than study and this practice will continue to grow. This practice has also affected language schools, universities, TAFE and VET colleges. Last year following a warning from global education provider Navitas, companies cancelled around 40 agent partnerships and initiated interviews from students from India and Nepal. Risk mitigation strategies were applied last year in India and Nepal following higher than acceptable levels of non-genuine student applications and this resulted in lower enrolments and may affect the semester one 2015 intake. However CEO Rod Jones claims that they will not compromise with the entry standards and risk adversely affecting academic outcomes and student experience.
Thomson Ch’ng, National President of Council of International Students Australia has asked to make the data on student visa fraud public. Moreover CISA condemns the practice of recruiting non genuine students to Australia and will continue to work closely with the Australian government and the international education peak bodies.
In 2013, in an attempt to rebuild Australia’s international education sector, government outlined plans to simplify visa access to low risk higher education providers. Last year international students contributed AUS$15.74bn to the economy. Interestingly in the peak year of 2010, government enforced stronger rules to mitigate against students course hopping to unaccredited providers.
However bogus students are still very much in the minority compared to genuine international students who stay with a provider until graduation.