Warning from WA: student visa system being undermined

Navitas co-founder Rod Jones warns WA’s international education reputation is at risk

“Some education providers and agents are undermining the integrity of the student visa system,” Mr Jones (chair of Study Perth) and Pankaj Pathak (WA Private Education and Training Industry Association) told members yesterday.

They warned that “large numbers of in-coming students granted visas for tertiary and ‘high-level’ vocational programmes are switching to lower level courses ‘within days of arrival’.” This is being done by issue of a “concurrent confirmation of enrolment” for their new course, (which is a visa condition).

According to Jones and Pathak, “these students are being ‘advised’ to stop attending their primary course or, in many cases, not even beginning their primary course, putting the principal provider at risk of non-compliance.”

“This has a particular impact on VET and higher education institutions, which are losing students to providers who offer lower AQF courses,” they state.

“When students apply for concurrent studies, principal providers are not notified or have visibility into this, and they are thus left looking for their students to ensure their safety and wellbeing.”

This could threaten the original enrolling institution’s risk rating for visas and it could lead to, “a downgrade in Western Australia’s international reputation as a source of high-quality education and training.”

Not just WA’s

In March Mahsood Shah and James Collins (CMM HERE) warned;

“the ‘recycling’ of students by education agents is well known and organised prior to the student arriving onshore. Education agents are motivated by the financial benefits associated with switching education providers. An initial commission will be paid by the primary provider, followed by subsequent payments by onshore VET colleges and private providers once a student changes their course and study location.”