91% of the VET sector’s international students are currently onshore 

91% of the VET sector’s international students are currently onshore
COVID-19 has not stopped international education. As of August 24, 524,000 international students were living among us in Australian cities and communities. They represent 78% of all student visa holders, according to data the Department of Home Affairs provided to us.

Read more here:  https://theconversation.com/4-out-of-5-international-students-are-still-in-australia-how-we-treat-them-will-have-consequences-145099  

International student visa applications to Australia on downward spiral

International student visa applications to Australia on downward spiral

Smaller universities and private Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers expect to be hardest hit because of their greater reliance on students from India and Nepal.   Applications from Nepal dropped 61 per cent and those from India by 47 per cent last financial year, putting further pressure on Australia’s $40 billion a year international student sector amid COVID-19 restrictions.  

Read more here:  https://www.smh.com.au/national/quite-serious-international-student-visa-applications-plummet-20200728-p55gbc.html

International students permitted to work more hours in Australia

International students permitted to work more hours in Australia
International students permitted to work more hours in Australia

Student visa holders enrolled in medical or health courses, provided they are currently working in support of Australia’s health efforts to tackle coronavirus and at the direction of the relevant state or territory authorities are now permitted to exceed the usual 40-hour per fortnight work limit.

Australia’s outdated official job list leaves students, businesses in limbo trying to get visas

Two people pose in front of a treePHOTO: Zerub Roberts (left) and Neelima Pallanti are aspiring data scientists. (Supplied)

Australia’s fastest-growing jobs are not recognised on the nation’s official list of occupations.

Key points:

  • Australia’s official list of occupations is out of date
  • That means businesses are struggling to fill vacancies and migrants face uncertain futures
  • The Bureau of Statistics states it will cost an extra $4 million in funding for a review, but the Government cannot find the money

It is causing problems in Australia’s immigration program as businesses clamour to find in-demand workers.

None of the five jobs named as Australia’s fastest growing by LinkedIn in 2018 are contained within the standard worker classification, known as ANZSCO, although jobs like weight loss consultant and amusement centre manager are.

That means businesses wanting to recruit overseas workers in these occupations are unable to, or they face extra hurdles to get approval.

And people desperate to live and work in Australia with these in-demand skillsets have no certainty over when they can settle or how to plan their studies.

Although a review of the list has been almost universally demanded, the Government has confirmed none would occur until after the 2021 census.

Zerub Roberts, who has recently completed his masters at Deakin University, came to Australia from India to pursue local education and work in data science, alongside his partner Neelima Pallanti.

Data scientist or data analyst is not on the list, so he is having to adapt his experience to the occupation of ICT business analyst for his visa application, including spending on a $10,000 course with the Australian Computer Society.

He is now on a two-year graduate visa facing a race against time to collect enough experience and qualifications for his application.

“If I don’t manage to secure permanent residency in two years, that would be very unfortunate,” he said.

“I just hope we won’t end up regretting this major decision we took two years ago to come to Australia.”

Widespread calls for review

Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) senior economist Gabriela D’Souza said the migration program had become splintered.

“Instead of embarking on new programs like the Global Talent Scheme, we should really be trying to fix the problems with the frameworks,” she said.

She said one of the “faulty” frameworks was the outdated ANZSCO list.

“Our last review was in 2013 — some of the jobs we have today weren’t a thing in 2013,” Ms D’Souza said.

“But now they are heavily part of the growing tech sector and the Government needs to initiate a review soon.”

According to Ms D’Souza, if a business advertises for a position not on the ANZSCO list, it cannot submit those ads in its application as proof that it has tried to find local workers.

Instead, it must advertise again with the listed occupation, prompting months of delays.

And some applications that attempt to shoe-horn new jobs into listed occupations are rejected, triggering delays and additional fees.

Jenny Lambert, the director of employment, education and training at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said even if the list review was commenced now “it will be closer to 2022 before the review is completed, well over 10 years since the last update”.

“The migration program has had to put in place ‘workarounds’,” she said, referring to recent special migration pathways such as the Global Talent Scheme that do not rely on the occupation codes.

“But these schemes have limitations such as higher salary thresholds which mean they are not a realistic option for many employers who may need the skills.

“The future of work is here now, but the way we measure these changes is being substantially inhibited by the lack of an up-to-date statistical view of the jobs that are in the economy.”

Groups specifically calling for a review to the list in a recent Senate inquiry include:

  • The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union
  • Tourism Accommodation Australia
  • Universities Australia
  • The Law Council
  • Restaurant & Catering Australia
  • The National Farmers’ Federation

No prioritisation

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which manages the list, told the inquiry a review would be labour and resource intensive and would cost over $4 million.

“Unfortunately, at this point in time key stakeholders were not able to offer any user funding to the ABS for this purpose,” it said.

A spokesperson for Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who has responsibility for the ABS, said work was underway to update skill levels for certain occupations on the list.

“This work, which is expected to be completed in coming months, will assist key agencies using ANZSCO to administer skilled migration policies and will be available on the ABS website.”

However, there will be no prioritisation of the review.

“The ABS has advised that the timing of a full review is currently under consideration but would be unlikely before the 2021 census,” he said.

Tips to apply for a perfect student visa application

Tips to apply for a perfect student visa application
Photo: Vinta Supply Co., Pexels.

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.

Tips to apply for a perfect student visa application
Photo: Anastasiya, Pexels.

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
  • Post-graduate
  • 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.

Tips to apply for a perfect student visa application
Photo: Stanley Morales, Pexels.

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.


The international student bubble is about to burst

The Department of home affairs’ latest quarterly visa data showed that international student numbers hit a record high 613,000 in the year to March 2019, up 77,000 over the past year and 280,000 since March 2013:

However, the composition of students is clearly shifting away from China towards India and Nepal, according to official government data:

New federal government data shows that the total number of Chinese students commencing courses in the first semester of 2019 is only 1.5 per cent higher than last year.

This compares to growth of 7.4 per cent last year, and 17 to 19.8 per cent growth in the previous two years… [However] overall numbers continue to grow, driven by strong interest from India and Nepal.

More than 199,000 international students commenced courses in the first three months of this year (corresponding to the start of the first semester), 9.6 per cent higher than last year. The number of commencing Indian students rose by 50 per cent to nearly 29,000 and the number of Nepalese students was up 27.6 per cent to nearly 13,000.

The total number of international students enrolled in the March quarter this year was 640,000, 11.1 per cent up on the March quarter last year… In the year to March, education exports were worth $36.6bn, 15.4 per cent higher than the corresponding period a year earlier.

As regular readers know, Australia’s international student trade has to date been powered by China, whose 153,000 students in 2018 were more than double that of India (72,000) and roughly five times the numbers from Nepal (28,000):

As shown above, the average yield is also much higher for Chinese students ($72,000) than it is for students from India ($52,700) or Nepal ($56,600).

The reason is simple: Chinese students tend to pay higher fees to study at higher quality Group of Eight Universities. On the other hand, students sourced from India and Nepal generally study at cheaper second-tier institutions or private colleges, often for the primary purpose of gaining employment and future permanent residency in Australia.

For example, last year it was revealed that applicants from the Indian Sub-Continent were using state-based migration schemes in Tasmania and the ACT for backdoor permanent residency into Sydney and Melbourne:

During recent months and years, a large number of prospective permanent residents – particularly international students from the Indian subcontinent – moved to Tasmania and the ACT for a relatively easier pathway to permanent residency…

This rorting was particularly prevalent in Canberra, where large numbers of Indian students streamed into the ACT to study at private colleges for one year and to qualify for permanent residency:

In July last year the ACT government widened the criteria for those seeking to be nominated by the territory government for permanent residency…

“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…

Last month’s Four Corners report was especially critical of the quality of students arriving from the Indian sub-continent, reporting widespread cases of academic misconduct, plagiarism, and students failing their courses.

For example, maths lecturer and academic misconduct investigator, Dr Duncan Farrow, told Four Corners:

“I have just reviewed the results for students from the Punjab region in BSC100 Building Blocks for Science Students and it is depressing. Of the 52 students in this category, 12 have passed the unit outright — a pass rate of less than 25 per cent”.

Murdoch University’s Professor Benjamin Reilly expressed similar concerns:

“In semester one 2018 we experienced a surge in new international students into some postgraduate courses. This surge increased sharply in semester two 2018, with several hundred new students, mostly from the Punjab region of India, enrolling in a small number of postgraduate courses.

“While some were OK, many do not have the language skills to study at a postgraduate level and have thus been unable to participate in class or complete assessments for the units legitimately.

“Hence we now have a much larger number of academic misconduct issues, supplementary assessments and outright failures than we have previously experienced in the units in which this cohort has enrolled”…

In a similar vein, Inside Story’s Tim Colebatch warned that large numbers of Nepalese students are flocking to Australia on spurious grounds, and risk repeating the training visa scams experienced a decade ago:

…one source stands out: the little Himalayan country of Nepal, just thirty million people, living in one of Asia’s poorest countries…

Over the five years to mid 2018, one in every 500 Nepalis emigrated to Australia — and that’s in net terms, after deducting those who returned. In 2017–18, little Nepal became Australia’s third largest source of migrants after India and China…

Deregulation has allowed universities to selectively lower their standards to bring in more fee-paying foreign students, even when they fail to meet the thresholds for English language skills or academic achievement…

This is not the first time immigration from Nepal has surged. A decade ago, we saw a scam with training visas, in which “students” from India and Nepal came for training courses in Australia, then quickly vanished into the workforce. The scam saw net immigration set record levels in 2008–09, before then immigration minister Chris Evans shut it down. But most of those who came stayed on here.

As reported in last month’s Four Corners report, some universities have been admitting international students who are below the university’s own published English standards, as well as accepting “medium of instruction” (MOI) letters for postgraduate students from India and Nepal, which state that students previously studied in English.

Some of these students are undoubtedly gaining access to Australia via fraud, as implied by the 2015 ICAC investigationentitled “Managing corruption risks associated with international students”:

In the search for international students, some universities in NSW are entering markets where document fraud and cheating on English-language proficiency tests are known to exist. They are using large numbers of local intermediaries – sometimes more than 200 agents – to market to and recruit students, resulting in due diligence and control challenges…

False entry qualifications, cheating on English-language proficiency tests, essay mills selling assignments, plagiarism, cheating in university exams and paying others to sit exams are reportedly common.

The pressures within universities are also conductive to corruption.

It’s not hard to see why. Across Facebook there are many advertisements by unregulated Sub Continental education agents spruiking how they can assist prospective students to manipulate the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to gain entry into Australia’s universities (example below).

Given that Australia’s universities and private colleges are now scraping the bottom of the international student barrel, and bringing in lower quality (and lower paying) students from India and Nepal, surely this is a signal that the international student bubble is about to burst?

With Australia’s largest student source – China – topping-out, and increasing scrutiny on the sector following the Four Corners report, it’s only a matter of time before international student numbers begin to fall.