Australia’s international student boom predicted to end as student visa applications show downward spiral
Read more here: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/10/australia-taps-new-boom-market-for-international-students/
Last week, Former High Court justice, Ian Callinan, claimed the surge in bridging visa applications to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) was being fuelled by organised criminals using so-called “ghost colleges” offering “fake vocational training programs”:
[Former High Court justice Ian Callinan] said “almost everyone” with migration law experience had told him there were applicants and representatives who “game the system, well knowing there is an automatic entitlement to a bridging visa”.
The Australian Skills Quality Authority told Mr Callinan that delays had repercussions beyond the AAT. It told him it was aware that organised criminals were sometimes, “perhaps even regularly”, benefiting from fake vocational training programs or “ghost’’ colleges…
The AAT now handles about 59,000 lodgements a year: more than half (52 per cent) are migration and refugee cases…
Yesterday, the national representative body for vocational education – the Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia (ITECA) – rejected Justice Callinan’s claims:
In his review, Mr Callinan… said that in his meeting with ASQA’s acting head, she had cited so-called “ghost colleges” for international students as an example of organised crime’s involvement in the vocational training industry.
He said she had discussed with him the fact that these colleges were “little more than addresses operated by people who provided no real training or tuition”.
“Their ‘students’ were not bona fide students. Often the so-called provider would find a job for the foreign entrant, charging commissions to both the employer and the so-called ‘student employee’, and arrange, again at cost, the transmission of funds to the ‘student’s’ home country,” Mr Callinan wrote in his review…
“To make such a bold comment is disconcerting as, in recent times, ASQA has failed to even intimate this privately to ITECA,” said Troy Williams, head of the Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia, which represents nearly 500 vocational education and training providers…
This isn’t the first time these concerns have been aired. In February, Dr Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute accused private ‘ghost’ colleges of opening ‘shopfronts’ in Melbourne offering cheap business and IT courses that provide the minimum requirements for a skilled visa application, aimed primarily at students from India’s Sub-continent:
“It has little to do with the excellence of the education that’s offered here,” he said. “It seems to be effectively selling access to jobs and permanent residence.”
Home Affairs Department figures show Indians are the biggest applicants of the 485 student visa… Many Indian students afterwards apply for permanent residency, with more than 4000 given skilled independent visas onshore in 2016-17…
Indeed, the explosion in graduate (485) visas has been driven by Indians, whose application numbers exploded by 37% in 2H 2018, dwarfing applications from other nations:
This type of rorting was recently exposed in the ACT, where private colleges proliferated providing international students, primarily from the Indian sub-continent, with the necessary points to qualify for permanent residency under the Territory’s relaxed migration scheme:
In the 12 months after the eligibility criteria was relaxed, colleges reported an explosion in enrolments… If a potential migrant’s occupation was not on the list of in-demand jobs, they could apply by proving a close connection to Canberra. This included living in the ACT for at least 12 months and studying a Certificate III or higher qualification at a local institution…
“When the subclass 190 visa popped up, the students started streaming in,” Min Gurung, marketing and sales manager from JP International College, in Mawson said. The college experienced an increase of 300-400 students in the past year, with many students moving to the ACT with their partners and young families…
Unity College in Belconnen experienced an almost two-fold increase in its student numbers to about 50…
Some operators of the colleges are reluctant to speak out, with one reporting his institution had about 100 students before July last year. In the past year, that number grew to about 300 students…
It’s believed up to eight colleges have opened in the past year and more applications could be in the works…
It is also worth pointing out that we experienced the very same shenanigans a decade ago. From August 2009:
In 2002 there was just over 11,000 Indian students in Australia, and by 2005 this number had grown to over 27,000… However, by last year enrolments had grown even more rapidly up to nearly 100,00 students, and most of the growth was in private vocational colleges where enrolments of Indian students increased at a startling rate, from 2,600 to 47,400 in three years…
Up until around 2005 most Indian students seeking permanent residency in Australia undertook masters programs, usually in information technology and accounting…
In 2004-05 three quarters Indian students graduating from Australian university programs obtained permanent residency.
The only problem with this had been that many international graduates in these areas of migration demand were not subsequently employed in the fields for which they had studied. Migration requirements were tightened to mandate higher levels of English proficiency and professional experience, and these had the effect of dampening demand somewhat for some university programs…
Private colleges responded quickly be developing new cooking and hairdressing programs that would give students enough points to get through. Some private colleges are very high quality institutions with a wide range of programs for local and international students, but there are low quality providers who cater almost exclusively to international students seeking fast and easy qualifications to support migration applications. By last year, 14,400 Indian students were studying in private colleges in programs grouped under the ‘food, hospitality and personal services’ classification, accounting more than a quarter of all students in these programs.
For several years many in the Australian international education industry have been warning that the rapid growth of private colleges providers focused on migration pathway programs posed serious threats to vulnerable students, who were sometimes willing to pay hefty fees and tolerate poor facilities and teaching in return for a piece of paper that would assist them to gain residency. There was also a concern that the actions of these colleges could bring the entire Australian education system into disrepute internationally…
History doesn’t repeat but it sure does rhyme. Back then, like now, private colleges have acted as ‘middle-men’ for Australia’s immigration system, clipping the ticket on those seeking to use student visas as a backdoor for gaining permanent residency.
And judging by their explosive growth, the Indian cohort remains both the key user and victim in this broken system.
There is nothing surprising if you have selected Australia as a destination for your further studies. Australia is home to a lot of the world’s best universities and institutions. Not just the universities, it is the most developed nation in terms of technology and advancements. The study mechanism followed in Australia is the best and most affordable by the students appearing from different countries. The country has some of the best tourist attractions and for the international students, it is considered the most friendly and welcoming place where everyone can adjust no matter from which corner of the world they belong.
Once you know, what do you want to study for your higher education and from where in Australia, you tend to start thinking about the application process. When you want to file the application, some important factors need to be considered.
The selection of the right institution, to the various character and health requirements and the finances proofs. As it may seem a bit discouraging or difficult to fill a visa application, but if you follow the given points as suggested by the Migration Agent Adelaide, it would create greater chances of getting your visa application granted. If you have any further queries for student visa subclass 500, then you can check beneath mentioned details.
Understanding the requirements
Before starting the process of making the application for a visa, you should be sure enough to be able to study in Australia and comply with the different requirements that need to be met. Some of those general requirements to fulfill and satisfy any of the student visa subclass 500 and other visas are:
Stability regarding finances: It is quite a basic requirement of any visa application for the purpose of visiting or studying in Australia that you need to prove to the Australian government about your financial position and need to state that you can very well afford your stay in Australia.
Academic Requirements: Some of the courses need to the fulfillment of certain grades in your academics to be able to enroll yourself into a course in Australia. The different institutions have different enrolment criteria.
English language competence: To be able to study in Australia, you need to have a good grip on the written and spoken the English language. This competence is also required to be proved to the Australian government through the various English language assessment provided by different providers.
The wise selection of institution
You can only gain access to a student visa if your selected institution is registered under CRICOS where CRICOS stands for Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. This authority is simply a list of education providers where the overseas students are given enrolment, recruitment and taught. You should always opt for an institution which is registered under the CRICOS.
Assuring your chosen course complete the requirements
For gaining access to Australian student visa 500, you must be enrolled in a full-time course which is at least 3 months long. The level of education enrolled should be either of the following:
- Higher-education tertiary course
- Intensive English Language course
- Short course
- Primary school or high school
- Vocational education and training course
Application process research
The various institutions follow different requirements for applying to study in their institution. Hence, it is necessary to check whether you are following the right application process or not. It is recommended to check with your education provider before proceeding with the application.
Before applying for the visa, make sure you have your COE
If you are applying for a student visa 500, you must make sure you have received your COE (Confirmation of Enrolment) from the institution you have applied into. The application process for a visa requires the confirmation of your enrolment into a CRICOS registered institution.
Health checkup activity
Before applying for a visa, you need to get your health checkups done and get certified health insurance from a registered health insurance provider and Australian Government requires proof of complete health check examination while making an application for the visa.
Be ready with all the required documents
You should always be ready with the documents that the Australian Government had provided in its handy list to let you know about the requirement of each. Always keep your documents ready before applying for the visa application. The different and most important documents required for the visa application are the financial records, health insurance, English language requirements, and many others. Keep these documents handy with you while applying for the visa.
Revise the application
This is kind of very obvious thing which goes without saying. Once the application is completed, it should be revised again and again to check if any error is encountered before submitting the application. Revising the application repeatedly is an important part of the application process. This might save you from getting your visa application refused or rejected.
Preparing for the interview
Just as you prepare yourself for any job interview, be prepared for your visa interview as well. Below mentioned are a few things you should keep in mind while preparing yourself for the interview:
- Read your application repeatedly to make sure you know every detail about your application.
- You might be asked questions relating to your Statement of purpose, make sure you know what is written in your statement of purpose.
- Make a thorough research of the questions you might be asked. Generally, the questions may be related to your reasons for selecting Australia as your destination for higher studies, reasons for selecting the particular course and institution, the relevance of your selected course with your future plans, etc.
- Perform practice sessions of the interview with your family members and make yourself familiar with the answers to potential questions.
- While in the interview, appear confident and perform well, as the immigration official will keep a watch on your attitude while the interview performance and will also judge you on the basis of your confidence.
These are the things our expert migration agent Adelaide suggests every applicant keep in mind to make sure they do not fail to follow while applying for the visa application.
Canada, the UK and Australia are three popular study destinations for students looking to study internationally. But, Canada vs the UK vs Australia – which country is the best for international students?
Canada hosts three universities ranked in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings – Toronto University, McGill University and the University of British Columbia. Seven Australian universities feature in the top 100, including the Australian University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. Meanwhile, the UK has a whopping 18 universities in the top 100! These include
Each of these countries has something quite different to offer. The beautiful mountains of Canada, stunning beaches of Australia and exciting cities of the UK may all appeal to you – but which country really does offer the best university experience? Read this article to find out more.
Weather in the UK is, unfortunately, generally mild and rainy. Although the summer and winter seasons offer extremes of warm summer days and snowfall, rain is the more commonly found weather from throughout the year. In the summertime, temperatures generally sit between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, whereas winters are much cooler at around 0 to 7 degrees Celsius.
The weather in Canada varies across the country, depending on the location at which you choose to study. The country stretches across five time zones from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and its weather is just as broad ranging. Toronto offers a cold and snowy winter with an average temperature of -4.6 degrees Celsius. It can get as low as -20 sometimes!
And take note, this is considered a milder winter temperature than found in other Ontario towns and cities. The summers in Toronto tend to be hotter than the UK with temperatures averaging 20 to 35-degree Celsius.
One reason for Australia being such a popular study destination is the amazing weather it offers year round. In contrast to the often cold weather found in Canada and the UK, Australia offers much more sunny climes, and beautiful beaches to enjoy it on, too!
Tuition Fee Costs
Tuition fees for an undergraduate course in the UK average US$10,000 – US$19,000 per year. For postgraduate courses, tuition fees average at a higher cost of US$12,500 – US$25,000 per year.
Average fees in Canada are broader and offer both cheaper and more expensive options than the UK, dependent on your programme of study and choice of institution. The bottom end of the average in Canada is lower than the UK, with average undergraduate fees starting at US$7,500. However, the average tuition fee cost in Canada goes up to US$22,000. Postgraduate fees average at a similar price to those in the UK, ranging from US$11,000 to US$26,000.
Tuition fees in Australia average higher than those in the UK and Canada. In 2018, the cost of tuition fees for international undergraduate students was estimated to be US$22,100 per year, whilst for international postgraduate students, the average was US$22,700.
Cost of Living
In addition to tuition fees, other costs need to be considered when thinking about studying abroad. The average cost of living that includes the cost of rent and living expenses for the duration of the course is important.
In the UK, rent and living costs are estimated at between US$12,000 and US$15,000 per year. Most undergraduate degrees (except for languages and medicine related programmes) tend to last for three years in the UK. That makes a total cost of living of $36,000 – $45,000 for the duration of a UK undergraduate degree programme. This price is likely to increase if you choose to study in one of the more expensive cities, such as London.
The cost of living in Canada for international students is cheaper than in the UK. It is estimated that US$7,500 to US$9,000 is needed for rent and living expenses each year. Again, this will of course increase if you are living in one of the more pricier cities, such as Vancouver. However, it is important to note that degree programmes in Canada are four years long.
So, although the yearly cost is cheaper, over the course of study you will need US$30,000 to US$36,000 in total, making it only slightly less expensive than the UK.
As part of the visa application process, potential international students for Australia must prove that they have access to US$14,000 per year to cover the costs of living. Australia is known to be a very expensive country. For residents there, wages are much higher than for people in other countries, and so the high cost of rent and consumables does not cause them any problems.
However, for students, it will mean that you must carefully budget. Undergraduate degree programmes in Australia are generally three years in length, the same as the UK, meaning that a total of US$42,000 is required in total to cover the cost of studying for a degree in Australia.
Postgraduate study is 1-2 years in all three countries.
Opportunities for Permanent Residency
It has become increasingly difficult for international students to remain in the UK and seek employment upon graduation over the past seven years. In 2012, then Home Secretary Theresa May, changed the law so that students could only stay in the UK for two months after the end of their studies.
The government later recognised this as unfair and extended it to two years. University organisations and some politicians are now lobbying for this to be further extended to two years. However, it is still stuck at six months at this current time.
In contrast, Canada has a low population and is often seeking individuals to take on highly skilled workers. It, therefore, offers many more opportunities to international students to remain in the country upon graduation. It’s a visa program, the PGWP (Post-Graduate Work Permit) allows students to stay and work in the country for three years if the application is successful. Once this visa has been approved, students are then able to apply for permanent residency.
Australia is also more open to international students remaining at the end of their studies. It offers a Skilled-Graduate Temporary visa that allows international students to stay in Australia for 18 months after graduation. This can be to gain additional work experience or even travel around the country! The Skilled-Independent (Resident) Visa can be applied for to give permanent residency to those who have completed two years of study in Australia.
Over the past five years, Australia experienced a massive boom in international student numbers, whereby the number of student visas on issue ballooned by around 200,000 to half-a-million as at the end of 2018:
As shown in the next chart from The ABC, this international student growth has been driven by the Chinese, whose numbers have surged from around 95,000 in 2015 to 150,000 as at 2018. Chinese students also accounted for around $11 billion of Australia’s $32 billion in education export earnings in 2018:
Recently, we have received explicit warnings that Chinese students numbers have peaked and will likely fall into the future.
Last week, The Australian reported that “the highly lucrative six-year boom in Chinese students is over”:
Ahead of the release of official figures, a senior Department of Home Affairs official briefed universities last week telling them that visa applications from Chinese students were flat…
The flattening out in numbers of Chinese students starting courses is not yet visible in the monthly data issued by the federal Department of Education and Training.
The March figures, which will give the full picture of international student enrolments this year, are not yet available.
Whereas University of NSW Professor, Ian Jacobs, recently warned that Chinese student numbers will decline over the coming decade:
“They are getting more universities, and those are getting much better quality, very rapidly,” said Professor Jacobs. “The Chinese government understands education is everything if they are going to be the high tech country they aspire to be.”
“My assessment [is] over a 10-year period, [Chinese students] will gradually decrease. We are already starting to see a slight decrease in the number of undergraduate students from China as the opportunities increase.
March’s overseas arrivals and departures data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), released on Monday, supports these assessments. It showed that short-term arrivals from China declined for nine consecutive months, including both students and tourists. Moreover, arrivals in March 2019 were lower than August 2017:
There are a variety of possible reasons why the flow of Chinese students and tourists has stalled.
As noted by Ian Jacobs above, China is increasing investment in its own universities and lifting its standards. At the same time, Australian university standards have plummeted, as highlighted in last week’s Four Corners expose, which has no doubt eroded the prestige-value of an Australian degree.
Political tensions between Australia and China could also be reducing the flow of Chinese students and tourists. China may also want to keep more of both at home to prevent the outflow of capital and protect the value of its currency.
Increased competition for Chinese students from other Anglo nations could also be having an effect. Last month we learned that the Canadian Government plans to expand its presence overseas in order to significantly increase the volume of international students studying in Canada from 572,415 in 2018. The UK Government is also seeking to lift international students numbers by offering more generous work rights.
Unlike with commodities, Australia has no natural advantage in university education. Therefore, increasing competition from universities abroad (including from China) will make it increasingly difficult for Australia to maintain Chinese student numbers.
The policy response so far has been to pivot to lower quality students from Indian and Nepal, where instances of plagiarism, academic misconduct, and students failing their courses are more common. And with this pivot, Australian university standards will be lowered even further.
The response for tourism is anybody’s guess.