The Australian Federal Government's recent announcement of a comprehensive package of measures reflects its commitment to ensuring the integrity of the international education system while providing essential support to genuine international students. This move underscores the heightened emphasis on preventing fraudulent activities within the international education sector.

“International education is our fourth largest export – it’s essential that we maintain our global reputation for quality education. Our government has no tolerance for people who exploit students.” - Clare O’Neil, Minister for Home Affairs.

By tackling issues related to fraud prevention, student support, collaboration, and international reputation, these measures have the potential to elevate Australia's position in the global education landscape while fostering a positive and enriching experience for international students.

To qoute Jason Clare, Minister for Education “This change will work to stop predatory ‘second’ providers from enrolling students before they have studied for the required six months at their first provider.”

Australia bans concurrent enrollment in an effort to combat rorts in international education

The Australian government said on Saturday, 26th August 2023, that it will immediately eliminate a loophole in its immigration policies that let international students enroll in less expensive vocational courses as soon as they arrive in Australia.

Concurrent study allows international students with student visas to do supplementary coursework in addition to their primary course. The purpose of this arrangement was to provide students the chance to add practical, career-focused training to their primary academic program. However, the government claimed that recent investigations had shown that students were misusing this provision to drop their university classes and move permanently to less expensive ones. This practice, referred to as "course-hopping," drifts off the path of the concurrent study's original intent and thus has raised concerns regarding the regulatory measures. 

Data revealed that concurrent enrolments had a “sharp uptake”, with 17,000 concurrent enrolments produced in the first half of 2023 compared to an approximate of 10,500 for the same period in 2019 and 2022 combined.

17% rise in financial requirement for Australian student visas

International students will now need to have more funds in order to qualify for a student visa, according to the government. This criteria has to be raised in order to account for rising living costs since it was last updated in 2019. From October 1 2023, overseas students will have to provide proof of $24,505 in savings—a 17% increase over the present requirements. This increase reflects indexation from 2019.

This adjustment will guarantee that students who come to Australia to study can sustain themselves and are not at heightened risk of exploitation owing to a pressing need for work.

Suspension of certificates of high-risk education providers

To stop application fraud, the government will examine high-risk demographics more closely and require more supporting documentation.

The Government is going to consider issuing suspension certificates to high-risk education providers utilizing the authority granted to it by Section 97 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act). If a provider has a suspension certificate, they cannot recruit overseas students.

The fact that the Australian government would be using this ability for the first time shows how seriously Australia views the problem of “dodgy and unscrupulous players”. The Government will start discussing on potential laws to establish clear criteria for the use of suspension certificates, such as application rates with forged papers and provider rejection rates. More than 200 providers who now have visa denial rates more than 50% have the attention of the government, which is "particularly concerning".

As part of the Migration Strategy, which will be unveiled later this year, the government is exploring further steps to promote integrity in the international education system.

Clare O’Neil, Minister of Home Affairs, said “Our message is clear – the party is over, the rorts and loopholes that have plagued this system will be shut down.”


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