Peak bodies warn education visas being gamed

Providers (are) offering courses with excessively low fees and low study expectations, often designed to enable students to maximise working hours beyond what might be facilitated under their student visa”

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia and TAFE Directors Australia jointly warn such “non-genuine onshore transfers” put institutions, who brought students involved to Australia, at risk of breaching their obligation to maintain visa standards, even after individuals had transferred to other providers.

Such low-cost and low-hours colleges also force quality providers to reduce fees, “leading to viability challenges and the potential of provider closure, potentially harming students and tarnishing the reputation of Australian international education at a time when the sector is trying to rebuild through and out of the pandemic”.

ITECA and TDA call on the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment and HE and VET regulators TEQSA and ASQA to engage, “in upholding conditions for fair competition, in a market that government has created and also regulates, as well as ensuring participants in that market fulfil their designated legislated entry obligations.”

ITECA and TDA also urge the Commonwealth to engage with peak bodies and propose “policy responses” to the apparent problem.

ITECA and TDA do not refer to students by nationality however Dirk Mulder has reported an apparent trend in international enrolments of Indian students already in Australia moving to low cost courses (CMM May 21).