Australia’s education minister Alan Tudge, has pledged a rapid increase in international students returning next year with hopes tens of thousands could be welcomed.
Alan Tudge on Friday told an international education conference the federal government was considering ways to rapidly expedite the return of students.
“Looking into next year, my expectation is that we will have very significant numbers coming in,” he said.
“I cannot put a figure on that just yet, but my hope would be that tens of thousands can return.”
Mr Tudge said limits would apply in the short-term but he remained hopeful caps would be scrapped to allow demand to drive student numbers rather than available places.
“When that occurs, I am confident that students will return in significant numbers.”
Australia will restart international travel from November with citizens and permanent residents the first priority for arrivals and departures.
Skilled migrants and students from overseas are expected to be next, ahead of tourists.
“These are all very promising and they are happening this year,” Mr Tudge said.
The education minister also wants a greater diversity of students entering Australia, which has largely relied on five countries but particularly China and India.
Mr Tudge said a concentrated market had financial risks and could also diminish local and overseas students’ experience.
“Some universities have responded to this through limits on international students and limits on proportion of students from any one country,” he said.
“We would obviously like to see universities themselves taking the lead on this, but we are also thinking deeply about policies to help facilitate this.”
He said a greater diversity of courses for international students should be more closely aligned with Australia’s skill needs so more people could become long-term residents.
International students to return to NSW from December 2021
NSW is expected to have around 500 international students return in December, while details around a South Australian plan are also being finalised.
From December 2021, a small, but increasing number of international students enrolled with New South Wales (NSW) education providers will have the opportunity to return to Australia to continue their studies on campus.
Under the pilot returns program, 500 students will return to the Australian state this year as part of the Australian Government-approved New South Wales International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan.
The plan sees 250 fully vaccinated students allowed to return to Australia in the first two weeks of December, followed by another 250 students in the second two weeks of that month.
Participating students must be fully-vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccination recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before they arrive in Sydney, and will be required to quarantine in purpose-built student accommodation in Sydney (regardless of which education provider they are enrolled with).
The selection of students for return to Australia, and the funding of the pilot program, will be managed and run by the New South Wales tertiary sector.
“This is an important milestone for NSW and reinforces the State’s standing as a world-leading study destination, especially for any international student considering NSW as the next place to learn and live in their education journey,” the announcement from Study NSW says.
The success of the pilot program will determine the next steps regarding its future expansion, which could involve school students by that stage.
The Australian Government continues to work closely with all of Australia’s states and territories on further development of student return and arrival plans.
International students could return to Victoria by the end of 2021
Here’s the latest news in Australia for international students — hundreds could return to Victorian universities by the end of the year.
In the latest news in Australia for students, hundreds of international students could reportedly return to Victoria by the end of the year following the state government’s approval of a plan to revive the 14 billion Australian dollar international education sector that has been badly affected by COVID-19.
Quoting a senior government source, The Age said 120 international students could be permitted to arrive in Victoria per week. Universities could cover the hotel quarantine costs under a plan to be sent to the Commonwealth for approval by the end of the week.
Research shows that Australia continues to be one of the most affordable overseas study destinations, with costs of living and course fees significantly lower than the USA and UK. Reports that Australia will significantly increase tuition fees and other costs are not correct. In spite of its small population, Australia has the third largest number of international students of English speaking nations.
Reasons to be cheerful: Australia adds up for international students
New data from English language testing company IDP Education is sending an upbeat signal to Australian universities that international students may be ready to come back in big numbers as COVID-19 begins to receding.
When IDP Education published its results in August it said anecdotally 74 per cent of overseas students wanted to resume their studies once the pandemic was over.
“International students know the cost of study in Australia and they know the limits of post-study work rights, but they are still keen to come,” says Andrew Barkla from IDP Education.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review on Thursday, chief executive Andrew Barkla said the company now had hard numbers showing “a pipeline of 82,000 students who have applications for the next six months and are ready to go”.
Statistics about International Students in Australia
Given Australia accounts for 47 per cent of the student volumes that IDP places internationally, Mr Barkla agreed it was reasonable to expect at least 38,000 customers of the company were thinking of coming to Australia.
Given that 120,000 international enrolments could be expected in Australian universities in 2021, the fact that one provider alone could speak for up to a third of that volume was encouraging.
IDP has a dominant position with the International English Language Testing System, which it developed with the British Council and Cambridge University.
“These are students who want an onshore campus experience. But more than that they know their circumstances,” Mr Barkla said.
“They understand the price the universities charge. They know the cost of living and how the dials are set for post-study work rights. So they have the complete picture and they still want to come.”
The next step was for government to send a signal that the door is open to international students. Pilot programs to fly students to Australia were important even if the numbers were only small because they signalled a government commitment to the scheme.
Pilot programs needed
“We need to get these pilot programs moving. We need a level of public confidence so students and families see they can be done in a secure and safe way that benefits the public as well as the students,” Mr. Barkla said.
“Pilot programs are a signpost that Australia is prioritising the opening up of the international sector.”
The Northern Territory said it would accept 100 international students and South Australia will take 300, although neither has committed to a date. By contrast, the UK is taking any international student arrivals and Canada is accepting any who can proved face-to-face teaching is their only option.
Australia also had not done as well as Canada and the UK in supporting students stuck in the country during the ban on international travel.
But on post-study work rights, which are important for international students who want work in their host country to pay off education, Australia was “not doing too badly”, Mr Barkla said.
A single reform to post-study work rights would make a difference: allowing overseas students who are studying online to include the online study they do in their home country towards a work-visa entitlement, instead of being able to include only those hours physically studying in Australia.
He doubted there would be a long-term setback from Australia’s political dissonance with China.
Mr. Barkla said “The Chinese family who is looking to send their child overseas – they are pretty savvy; and they’re pretty connected beyond what they read in the Chinese press”.
Interest to study in Australia increasing
“I’ve been in webinars and on roadshows in China and, looking forward, the interest in Australia and the UK as a study destination is increasing. If anything, it’s the geopolitical tension between China and that US gets more attention.
“So the number of parents who would normally be looking to the US are now shifting their interest to the UK or Australia.”
In a recent interview with the Financial Review the vice-chancellor of the University of NSW, Ian Jacobs, said he was optimistic on the outlook for universities because demand for education was moving to a higher level.
“In the 19th century, primary education was extended to most people. When it comes to the 20th century, it was secondary education. In the 21st century, tertiary education will be available to all,” he said.
“…Australia is placed to deliver that, face-to-face, online, short or long courses, undergraduate and postgraduate.”
Mr. Barkla shared his optimism. After in initial pandemic-related fall, IDP’s English language testing volumes have returned to 55 per cent of what they were pre-COVID-19.
As restrictions ease the company has plans to open another 50 labs globally to add capacity.
IDP Education has a business model universities would envy, and could possibly learn from.
When COVID-19 hit Mr Barkla asked staff to accept a 20 per cent cut in salary (a higher percentage for senior executives), and in return he would guarantee no job losses. Within five days 100 per cent of staff had signed up.
At the height of the crisis it raised $250 million in the market to bolster its cash position, and so far it has burned through just $27 million.
Australia government student visa fee relief for student effected by COVID-19
The Australian Government has been making several changes to visa requirements in recent weeks.
One of the most notable is that applicants will be given
additional time to hand over their English language results and
complete biometric and health checks, allowing future students who’ve been impacted by COVID-19 the chance to finish their visa applications.
In addition to these measures, Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has announced that current international students who will be unable to complete the requirements of their student visa due to COVID-19 will be able to lodge another student visa application free of charge.
This will certainly be warmly welcomed by the thousands of international students who’ve been worrying about what the future will hold for their education in Australia.
What is the Fee Waiver?
The fee waiver means that any international student who is unable to complete the requirements of their student visa due to the pandemic, will be able to reapply without paying the usual application fees. This fee waiver came into effect at midnight on Wednesday 5 August 2020.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that the waiver will only be available to students who had a valid visa from 1 February 2020:
“A visa application fee waiver will be available to students
who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and
who were unable to complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19.”
This fee waiver will only apply to new applications and no refunds will be offered to those who applied before midnight 5 August 2020.
Even if you are eligible to receive the fee waiver, there are some extra steps that must be taken in order to receive the free application.
How to Apply?
First, you’ll need to submit COVID-19 Impacted Students form from your education provider, in addition to your visa application.
This form will have to be signed by your education provider, showing how the pandemic has affected your visa requirements.
As well as fee waivers, the Australian Government has announced that the eligibility requirements for a post-study work visa have been relaxed. If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19 and are enrolled with an Australian education provider, you may be eligible for the following:
New or current student visa holders who have been forced to undertake online study outside Australia due to the pandemic will be able to count this toward the Australian Study Requirement.
Graduates who have been affected by the travel restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 will be able to receive a temporary graduate visa outside of Australia.
It’s clear from these announcements that the Australian Government wants to make sure that international students will be safe in the knowledge that they will be able to continue their education in Australia.
Department of Home Affairs website,
for the latest news on Australia’s travel restrictions. You can view and
download up-to-date information for all types of visa holders in English or
All travellers to Australia from midnight, 15 March 2020 are required to
self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolating means you’re required to stay in your
You’ll need to avoid going out into public spaces such as restaurants,
supermarkets, workplaces, universities and any other public places that you
will come into contact with people. Additionally, avoid receiving visitors into
your home or local accommodation.
If you need more information on self-isolation, get more details by
downloading the Isolation Guidance information
sheet from the Department of Health website. If you need to use
public transport (e.g. taxis, ride-hail services, train, buses and trams.),
kindly follow the precautions listed in the public transport guide.
If you’re starting your studies during the time you’re required to
self-isolate, contact your school or university to discuss your study options.
Many universities have put in place measures to assist students who are
required to self-isolate, such as delayed semester starts or online study
If you, or any friends and family start showing flu-like symptoms such
as a cough, fever, sore throat or shortness of breath, it is important to
contact your local doctor. You can also monitor your symptoms using the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom
checker. Call before you visit and explain your symptoms and travel
history to ensure they are prepared to receive you.
If you’re enrolled in Semester 1 2020 and unable to begin classes due to
the travel bans or the 14-day self-isolation, you’ll need to get in touch with
your university or school as soon as possible to discuss your enrolment.
Many Australian universities have delayed their semester start dates or
have put in place changes to assist international students who have been
impacted by the recent travel bans.
We recommend you contact your university or school as soon as possible
to discuss your possible study options or deferring your studies to start at a
You can also check out the following websites for current advice and
information that may assist you:
If you have arranged for student accomodation and can’t travel into the
country, then it’s vital you check in with your student accommodation about
your next steps.
Some student accommodation providers may require you to provide
additional information or may change or delay your accommodation arrangements.
can I go for support?
The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus presents an emotionally
challenging situation for many international students. The spread of the virus
may be causing you or your friends and family distress or anxiety, especially
if you have loved ones in affected areas or have not been able to return home
or to Australia because of the recent travel bans.
The Australian Government have created a dedicated and multi-lingual
support service for international students. You can contact them via email or
phone 1300 981 621 (8:00 am–8:00 pm AEDST Monday to
You can also visit the Australian Government Department of
Education website to download the latest information, guides
and FAQs for up-to-date general health and enrolment advice, where to access
support services, and news on the latest immigration and border protection
If you have flight arrangements in place, your plans may be affected by
travel bans or cancelled flights.
Many major airlines and countries are cancelling flights or restricting
entry. If you have overseas travel plans, it’s important to regularly check
your airline’s website or contact the airline directly for next steps and
travel options at a later date.
to IELTS testing
There are currently changes being made to IELTS testing. Visit the IELTS website to find out if the changes
will affect you.
Australia’s international education industry has strengthened across the board, pushing student numbers to new record levels according to the latest data. But doubts have started to emerge over how long the country can maintain its growth streak.
Records continued to fall for Australian international education, but clouds are starting to form, as the country’s reliance on China increases.
The number of international students within Australia currently sits at 9.4% above the 554,200 for the whole of 2016
Year to October data, released by the Department of Education and Training, shows more than 606,700 international students have entered Australia so far in 2017, a 13% increase from the level achieved by the same time in 2016, while enrolments and commencements also experienced double-digit percentage growth.
“The more Australia can do to discover or seek out new markets, the better for the international education sector as a whole”
The surge in numbers has also pushed up total revenue, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating the 12 months to September period grew to a landmark $29.4bn, up from $28.4bn last quarter.
The figure for students, enrolments and commencements as of October has already surpassed that for the whole of 2016.
The number of international students within Australia currently sits 9.4% above the 2016 total of 554,200, while enrolments and commencements – the number of new enrolments in a calendar year – are 7.5% and 2% higher, respectively.
English Australia noted September 2017’s figures were 6.7% down from September 2016
While the figures are welcomed in Australia, not all sectors and source markets experienced consistent improvements, casting doubt over how long the boom will last.
Although 3.3% above the previous year’s October figures, ELICOS stands alone as the only sector to not yet surpass 2016 totals, and after a strong first half of 2017, experienced two consecutive declines in commencements in August and September.
It was the only major sector to do so.
In its latest market analysis report, English Australia noted September 2017’s figures were 6.7% down from September 2016, representing “arguably the first poor month at the national aggregate level for ELICOS in recent years.”
Meanwhile, China further strengthened its position as Australia’s top source market, increasing 18% from the same period in 2016 and pushing its market share across all sectors from 27.5% to approximately 30%; reaching as high as 60% for some sectors.
Usually Education agents assist international students to secure a place in an Australian school. While institutions can enrol students directly, they also work with the global student agent network such as IEA-A International Network. You may choose to use a qualified education agent, usually known as a student counsellor, academic adviser, or student recruiter in your home country, or one based in Australia, to guide you through the process of choosing a school and enrolling.
Also based on your home country, your education agent with deep knowledge of Australian visa system, will manage your student visa application that could be critical for getting your student visa successfully. IEA-A has Australian office and in your local country so our services start in your country and continue in Australia. Why you need a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor ?
Education agents help reduce the stress of choosing a school in another country. Understanding your options, with someone who speaks your language, can be very reassuring. It is important through that that your agent is knowledgeable, up-to-date on student visa and curriculum changes, and has your best interest at heart. We hear stories of students who arrive for their first day of class to find out that the school has never heard of them. The education agent industry can attract unethical people, so do your research to make sure you are working with a good agent!
In this section, we provide guidance on using agents. Our qualified principal Migration Agent and education councillor Mrs. Feriha Guney (Qualified Education Agent Counsellors QEAC number: C102). (Migration Agent – MARN:0960690) is one of the industry expert with over 15 years of experience and thousands of satisfied international student, can assist you herself or with a number of education counsellors or migration Agents/Lawyer work with her. Some of the benefits of using a qualified education agent
If you agent is not qualified or experienced could cost you not only your visa fee or time but also he/she can damage your education career and even may change your life. On the other hand a qualified and experienced education agent, coudl help you to build your education career and even after a successful life, by doing:
conduct an interview to understand your needs and goals
make suggestions for the best institutions and programs to help you reach your goals
assist you to collect all of the documents you will need for your application
guide you through the application process
review your statement of purpose and provide information on interview process
guide you through the visa process once you have been accepted by an institution
help you prepare for the move and your arrival in Australia
organisation of airport pick-up and accommodation
provide information on how to find job in Australia and regulations
provide information on how to get Australian Tax number if you want to work
provide information on how to open bank account
provide information on how to get Australian Mobile Phone services
provide information on how to extend / change your visa while you are studying (may require additional fee)
provide information on how on Graduate work visa after your graduation of apply (may require additional fee)
provide information on how to apply a permanent skill visa
Education agents fees
When working with an agent, is very important to understand how the agent makes money. You will find that most experienced and qualified education agents offer their services for understanding your education career, checking your “statement of purpose” as well as preparation for the interview, finding right school for your education purpose, helping you to have school acceptance, counselling and the enrolment process fee which it depends of the country of application (as requirements for each country is different).
Although some inexperienced agent may offer their services free of charge, you should question their qualification and experiences that may cost your education career or even change your life forever. In addition to that you may or may not be charged for any school application fees that arise such as the school assessment (the schools charge the agent for this service). You will also be charged for the visa application fee which is paid to the government of Australia.
If you are applying in Australia, IEA-A usually will not charge you a fee. However if you are applying from overseas and if your home country considered in a risky country, there yoru application need to be prepared professionally and reviewed by expert before making application, so we may charge you an application fee. Best Agent location – in your home country or in Australia or in both?
Should you use an agent in your country, or one based in Australia? There are benefits and drawbacks to each options.
IEA-A usually offer both location support, in your home country for visa application and assessing your application according to your home country requirements, in Australia for on-going help and support. This way you have benefit of Using an education agent based in your country, you are dealing with somebody who is local and understand your education system.
Education Counsellor in your home country should also be very knowledgeable about visas for nationals of your country. The interview process can take place over the phone or face to face in your native language, and all the paperwork and applications can be processed locally.
When an education agent located in Australia, you have representation when you arrive, and can expect very good relationships with, and knowledge about, Australian education providers. Your agent can assist with airport pickup, accommodation, and in some cases even help you to understand how you can get a job while you are studying. How do I know if an agent is knowledgeable?
The migration agent system is regulated by the Australian government. Registered migration agents can counsel on migration visas, student visas, or both. If you are working with a migration agent who is also a student agent, we suggest you use one who is registered with the Office of the MARA to ensure they are up-to-date on visa rules. In addition, you can also find out whether a night and overseas agent has been banned from working in migration.
Although it is not mandatory, the Qualified Education Agent Counsellors qualification managed by the PIER Education Agent Training, ensures an agent understands student visas and regulation, especially if you are working with an education agent in your country. The qualification is not mandatory currently, but it can be a good indication of the quality of the agent. See if your agent has right qualification.
All IEAA Education counsellors and migration Agents have required qualifications and lead by our principal Director Ms. Feriha Guney who has both qualification as Registered Migration Agent and Education Agent (Mrs. Feriha Guney (Qualified Education Agent Counsellors QEAC number: C102). (Migration Agent – MARN:0960690 ) and over 15 years of experience on both fields. If you want to check your eligibility as a student visa o study ion Australia, send your resume and write to us on [email protected]
The Australian Education Roadmap developed by Austrade clearly articulates an ambition to develop, enhance and grow the onshore sector to welcome up to 720,000 students; compound annual growth of 3.8% on the nearly 500,000 Australia welcomes today.
“In a high market-share scenario, these numbers could almost double to nearly 990,000 by 2025,” states the report. “Beyond this, in the relatively untapped borderless skills market of in-market, online and blended delivery – there are projected to be in excess of one billion students around the world.”
“In a high market-share scenario, these numbers could almost double to nearly 990,000 by 2025,”
The three areas of focus for the strategy are: Strengthening the Fundamentals of Australia’s education system (via delivering the best student experience possible, providing robust quality assurance); Making Transformative Partnerships (via alumni building, strengthening partnerships) and Competing Globally (via promoting excellence).
Richard Colbeck, minister for tourism and international education, signed off on a considered and cohesive strategy which represents clear ambition.
In Richard Colbeck, minister for tourism and international education, Foreword, he commented, “It is critical that we embrace the role as a driver of change. We must be conscious of what our competitors are doing, particularly what they are doing better than us.”
Stakeholders welcomed the announcement. Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, said, “Given that international education is now worth $19.6 bn a year to the Australian economy, it now requires the level of attention that the nation’s third largest export sector should attract.”
“Given that international education is now worth $19.6 bn a year to the Australian economy, it now requires the level of attention that the nation’s third largest export sector should attract.”
Honeywood is a member of the Coordinating Council for International Education which consulted with government on its draft strategy. The council commended the first “whole-of-sector” strategy and said effective implementation was now needed.
“The sector provides far more than just an economic boost,” underlined Honeywood. “Research collaboration, two-way student mobility and student services such as accommodation and employment skills are all vital and require greater national coordinated effort. These ‘soft diplomacy’ benefits are often overlooked.”
Minister Colbeck also announced the formation of an ongoing council that will be responsible for implementation.
It was the country’s foreign minster, Julie Bishop, who announced the strategy while in Tasmania and it is the department for foreign affairs and trade which is championing the alumni agenda. To support this concurrent strategy, a website and Linked In group has been launched.
Twelve “inspirational” alumni ambassadors have been selected to work to build Australia’s profile in their home countries, and a video profile series is available, Australian by Degree.
“Over 50 years, 2.5 million international students have been attracted to Australia and its world class educational institutions,” said Bishop.
Yet another review has landed on desks around Canberra. A newly released 160-page Productivity Commission paper on International Education Services has underlined what many of us who work in this dynamic sector already know.
Not only is international education kicking goals for our beleaguered economy but it continues to enhance Australia’s global credentials. Notwithstanding this, the report also warns this $17 billion a year industry that more regulatory reform might be required if Australia is to remain the study destination of choice.
Up front, the Productivity Commission’s report is very much a good news story. It finds that our nation’s third-largest export creates 130,000 equivalent full-time jobs. These jobs are not just in teaching but cut across the entire economy, including the provision of accommodation, food, entertainment and even tourism.
There are more than 450,000 full-tuition, fee-paying international students in Australia now, accounting for 20 per cent of all students enrolled in our higher education institutions and 5 per cent in vocational education and training (VET). Importantly for our future relations in our region, about three-quarters of all international students come from Asia, with China and India the biggest markets.
Of equal importance, the report noted that we have another 160,000 enrolments in Australian courses delivered offshore, with an increasing number of these in the advanced skills (VET) sector. Overall, our international education industry has recovered from recent years of declining enrolments and the commission concludes that it “is back on a high-growth trajectory”.
So where is the flip side to all this good news? The Productivity Commission points to four key areas of concern. These relate to governance, student visa integrity, comparative quality course ratings and the complex issue of education agent quality assurance.
International education has come a long way, in a short space of time, since each state and territory government had separate regulatory authorities. Until the federal government intervened, each state had jurisdictional oversight of student and education provider policy and procedures. These were replaced in 2011 by the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) for higher education and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for vocational education. Despite initial teething problems, these two national regulators have made significant improvements in the good governance of a complex industry.
It is therefore surprising that the Productivity Commission raises the possibility that these two regulators be merged into one entity. Some education institutions, which deliver both higher education and VET courses, would welcome any ensuing reduction in their regulatory reporting burden. However, because each of these national regulators primarily service very different types of education providers and courses, there is little momentum among international education stakeholders for such a merger to be effected.
Control of who is deemed to be a genuine temporary student and student visas has long been vested in our Immigration Department. In recent years this has been justified because of border control concerns.
Yet the Productivity Commission boldly suggests that other factors and government departments should have a stake in the outcomes here. Whereas the Immigration Department’s almost entire focus is on the immigration risk of an education provider, the commission questions the merits of this. Instead, they would like to see factors such as the quality of the education provider’s course delivery, their financial or consumer risk and even student graduation outcomes factored into the visa-issuing process.
Industry groups, such as the International Education Association of Australia, have long argued for just such a comprehensive student visa issuance model. Currently, it is all too easy for certain education providers to tailor their immigration risk rating just long enough to qualify for special visa status. They might be delivering the worst business course in Australia, but that is not being factored into the equation.
The third related area of concern identified in the report is the lack of transparency on the ratings of course quality. This is supported by a recent global survey of 45,000 international students by Hobsons Education Solutions. It highlighted that course rankings now come ahead of education institutions’ overall quality and the choice of country as the key driver of enrolments.
Happily, something is being done about this in Australia. The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) online platform will be released soon by Education Minister Christopher Pyne. QILT will incorporate student experience, graduate outcomes and employer satisfaction surveys into one easily accessible portal.
There has been a great deal of media interest recently in the complex relationships between education agents and education institutions. Unfortunately, none of this public commentary has mentioned that the federal Education Department is awaiting a report that it has commissioned on this very issue. The report is due by the end of June and more than 1000 key stakeholders have been surveyed already and separate education provider and agent focus groups have been held around the country.
The Productivity Commission report has provided yet one more set of recommendations to a sector that is already suffering from review fatigue. A long-awaited whole-of-government approach is in the mix now.
The government is to finalise soon its National Strategy for International Education. It is not before time that Australia’s third-largest export gets this attention.
Phil Honeywood is the executive director of the International Education Association of Australia.
Eighty eight per cent of international students are satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience, outperforming similar competitor nations.
A new report on international students’ experiences has found widespread satisfaction across all survey areas — learning, support on arrival, living and support services — at a rate higher than similar competitor nations.
The lone exception is living and accommodation costs which registered only a 50 per cent satisfaction rating.
The biannual International Student Survey was released by federal education minister Christopher Pyne on the back of a NSW report which suggested widespread cheating, low academic standards and even corruption. A report on the ABC tonight is widely expected to come to similar conclusions.
“The report confirms that the reputation of Australian institutions and the quality of teaching are by far the most important factors for international students choosing Australia over other countries,” Mr Pyne said in a statement.
Chris Ziguras, a higher education researcher from RMIT, said the survey threw a positive light on a sector currently under siege by media.
“This report is reassuring to the government and to the sector as a whole that students are coming here for all the right reasons and generally satisfied. Australia is on par with and outperforming other destinations,” Dr Ziguras said.
While the broad brushstroke nature of the overview support lacked nuance, the over all picture was undeniably positive, Dr Ziguras said.
“You’re asking people to tick boxes and you are not getting deep insights. If it was a one-off survey then you’d say it was pretty bland but the fact it’s been done three times in succession shows (the aggregate results) are reassuring.”
Dr Ziguras said he was “dismayed” by last week’s Independent Commission Against Corruption report.
“I’m not sure who they spoke to but they apparently didn’t speak to students,” he said.
“It’s dismaying not because of what it says about the sector but because of the way the sector is perceived. That’s very depressing,” he said.
Dr Ziguras also said he was concerned about the potential for corruption based on the fact international students generate revenue.
“All students generate revenue. The same potential exists for such things with the admittance of domestic students in undergraduate programs with universities dipping lower and lower into ATARs because evert new student brings revenue. There’s the same potential there.”
Fiona Docherty, pro vice-chancellor (international) at UNSW said feedback from international students at her institution didn’t line up with the view promulgated in the ICAC report, especially in relation to the use of agents.
“I’m interested in feedback after students get here and can reflect objectively on their choices to come to that university. Our experience shows that 90 per cent of students are satisfied with their agents,” Ms Docherty said.
Scott Sheppard, deputy vice-chancellor (international) at Queensland University of Technology, also said he struggled to correlate the ICAC report’s findings with the experience of international students at his institution.
“Maybe it’s because we have a relatively low percentage of international student enrolments, but the findings didn’t alight with our experience,” Professor Sheppard said.
The mirrors in the Spiegeltent have been polished. The contortionists set to bend across its stage are limber. International guests from Belgium, Shanghai and beyond are streaming through Customs. The street art-covered labyrinth has been erected. The 2015 Sydney Festival is ready to go.
Sydney’s 39th annual festival of art and culture (and plenty of big things children can play on) kicks off Thursday morning when the Festival Village – now with two Spiegeltents – opens its doors. During the day, festivalgoers at the Hyde Park hamlet will be able to walk all over a two-storey maze designed and constructed by Irish street artist Maser and relax in the City of Sydney’s lawn library. At night they can catch sword-swallowers at Limbo and hit the bars and food stalls for a Grand Royale with Cheese (not a burger but an ice-cream).
The Village is not the only Sydney Festival venue springing to life for opening day (want to swing through a waterfall? You can do that at Darling Harbour from 9am), but it is the festival’s centre, expected to draw 10,000 visitors per day. And the festival is ready for them.
The festival will be Sydney’s first major public event since the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. Crowds for the fireworks were estimated to have been smaller than in 2013, leading some to ask whether Sydneysiders had been shaken by the Martin Place siege and heightened terror alert level. But police point out that high-profile viewing areas that night, such as the Sydney Opera House, were at capacity from early afternoon.
Festival organisers said punters appear undeterred: they expected to exceed the 124,000 tickets sold in 2014. Executive director Chris Tooher said that sales at the beginning of the week were at 64 per cent of the final target, ahead of the same time last year. It will be weeks before numbers on the free, unticketed events are known.
Many of the festival venues have private security and Tooher said organisers were working closely with police and other authorities to ensure safety at the Domain and Hyde Park.
Department of Immigration published information about how to change your course while you are studying in Australia. You can get further information from IEAA on visa requirements or new course acceptability on [email protected] or you can call 02-92327055.
If you are thinking about changing your course of study, you need to ensure that you continue to meet all the conditions that apply to your student visa.
Changing courses – streamlined visa holders
If you were granted a visa under the streamlined visa processing arrangements and you would like to change to a new course of study, you generally need to enrol in another streamlined eligible course (or package of courses) at the same level as your current course in order to remain compliant with the conditions on your current student visa.
To check whether a course is eligible for streamlined visa processing, or to learn more about the streamlining arrangements for certain student visas, see streamlined student visa processing.
If you want to change the level of qualification you are studying towards, you need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass will not be appropriate for your new course (or package of courses). For example, if you want to change from a Bachelor degree to an Advanced Diploma.
If you transfer to a course of study that is not eligible for streamlined visa processing processing or if you change the level of qualification you are studying towards and you have not been granted a new visa appropriate to your new course then your visa might be considered for cancellation.
It is our policy that students who have transferred to a course not eligible for streamlined visa processing at the same level as their current course would not be considered for cancellation if either:
the country of their passport is Assessment Level 1 for their current visa or
they have held their current visa for at least 12 months.
Changing courses – non streamlined visa holders
If you want to change to a new course to study towards the same level of qualification and your visa was not granted under streamlined arrangements, you do not need to apply for a new student visa unless your current visa is about to expire.
If you want to change the level of qualification you are studying towards, you need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass will not be appropriate for your new course (or package of courses). For example, if you want to change from a Bachelor degree to a Certificate IV. Changing your education provider – all student visa holders
In addition to ensuring that you comply with your visa conditions, there are also requirements under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) National Code that apply if you want to change your education provider.
If you have not completed six months of your principal course (the main course of study you are undertaking) and you want to change your education provider, the ESOS National Code sets out the circumstances in which this will be possible. Unless special circumstances apply, you are usually required to have the permission of your existing education provider in order to transfer to another education provider.
If you do want to transfer, your education provider must assess or consider your request to transfer. All education providers must have documented procedures on their transfer policy. You should make sure you understand your education provider’s transfer policy, and what your written agreement says you must do, before you attempt to enrol with a new education provider.
If your education provider does not give you permission to transfer to another education provider and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should first access the internal appeal process with your education provider. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal the education provider’s decision at an external complaints handling body, such as the State or Territory Ombudsman or the Overseas Student Ombudsman. Scenarios
The following are common scenarios about international students changing courses and complying with their visa conditions. Moving from a university to a vocational education course
Unless certain exceptions apply to you, the ESOS National Code requires you to complete six months of your principal course (the highest qualification course) for which your visa was granted before changing from a University Course (for example a Bachelor degree) to a vocational education course (for example a diploma).
Australian migration law also requires you to obtain a new visa if you want to study in a different educational sector.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Mandeep was enrolled with the Eucalyptus University to study a Bachelor of Accounting. She was granted a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa.
After commencing her bachelor degree, she was informed by a friend she could study her course faster and cheaper at a different institution. Mandeep thought this sounded like a good option as she wanted to get her degree as fast as possible. She thought she might have a problem with her visa if she changed her course.
Mandeep phoned the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to see if she could move to this cheaper institution. After confirming all the details of Mandeep’s case, the immigration officer told Mandeep her visa was granted under streamlined visa processing arrangements with the Eucalyptus University – if she changed to a non-streamlined education provider while holding a streamlined student visa, she might be in breach of a condition of her visa (condition 8516).
The immigration officer informed Mandeep that if she wanted to change education provider she would have to choose one of the following options:
transfer to another streamlined institution (after completing six months of her principal course)
apply for a new student visa (after completing six months of her principal course) with a letter of offer or confirmation of enrolment from the new provider.
Mandeep decided to move to the cheaper institution, regardless of the information she had found out about her visa. Shortly after, an officer of the department contacted her and issued a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation for her student visa. Mandeep responded to the notice and provided reasons why her visa should not be cancelled. An officer of the department considered her response and proceeded to cancel her student visa for breach of condition 8516 as she had not acted on one of the two options put to her earlier.
Mandeep was upset and regretted not abiding by the conditions of her visa. Mandeep no longer held a visa to remain lawfully in Australia and made arrangements to return to her home country. Changing courses in the first six months
If you have not completed six months of the highest qualification course in which your visa was granted, you need a release letter from your education provider (unless certain exceptions apply to you under the ESOS National Code).
If you are refused a release letter or your circumstances are not excepted under the ESOS National Code, you might want to access the internal appeal process with your education provider.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Trung had heard a lot about Australia. His cousin had studied in Australia and Trung believed if he trained in Australia this would result in good employment prospects. His dream was to set up a boutique hotel. Trung applied to the Australian University to undertake a Bachelor of Commerce and the education agent assisted him in applying for a visa to be able to study this course.
Trung arrived in Australia on a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) student visa in late July. He was excited to commence his course but as the semester progressed he felt overwhelmed by how intense and technical the lectures were. He also struggled with the Australian accent. After eight weeks Trung began to lose interest in the course and stopped attending classes.
Trung went to the Blue Gum Institute and sought to enrol in a Certificate III in Hospitality which would mean he could still pursue his dream of opening a hotel. The student advisor explained to Trung that he required a release letter from the Australian University prior to being able to enrol with Blue Gum Institute. Trung applied for a release letter but was not granted one.
Trung called the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for advice. He was informed by an officer of the department that his current visa was granted to study in the higher education sector at the Australian University and as Trung wanted to study Hospitality at the vocational level he needed a Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) student visa which is the correct visa for students that study in vocational education and training courses.
Trung decided to apply for a subclass 572 student visa for the course at Blue Gum Institute. He was happy in his course once he was granted the subclass 572 visa and thinks he might apply for another student visa to go back to the bachelor course once he has completed the Certificate III course. Note: If Trung had not have applied for another student visa, which was more appropriate to the course of his study, his subclass 573 student visa would have been liable for cancellation. This is because it is a requirement of the conditions of a student visa that the holder maintain enrolment in a course of study that is appropriate to the subclass of student visa. Moving to a ELICOS course at the advice of your university
If you are having difficulties in your course talk to your student advisor.
If delaying the commencement of your course to complete an English course confirm your education provider has issued you a new confirmation of enrolment.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Bess enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering at Banksia University. She had achieved high marks in her previous schooling in China and was looking forward to commencing her course at Banksia University. Bess had achieved the appropriate IELTS level and was confident she would be able to do well in her chosen course of study.
Bess commenced her first semester but struggled with some of the language used in her course. She also found it hard to keep up with the pace that some of her lecturers spoke. Bess was concerned if she failed her course, her visa might be cancelled and she would have to return to China.
She decided to talk to a student adviser about her situation. After Bess discussed the issue with her student adviser, it was suggested she take an ELICOS level English course for one semester with the expectation she would return to her bachelor degree once her English improved.
Bess was concerned this would affect her student visa. She called the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and asked if she could move to an ELICOS course if she was intending to return to her original study plan.
The immigration officer told her as long as she continued her planned study at the Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) visa level after completing the English course, she will continue to meet her visa conditions. Bess called Banksia University to confirm her enrolment after completing her English course.
Bess completed her English course and then recommenced her bachelor degree. Note: If Bess had substantially failed her studies at Banksia University, this might have led to the cancellation of her visa. This is because the conditions attached to a student visa require, among other things, that the student visa holder progress towards the completion of their course of studies. Changing courses after the first six months
If you have completed six months of the highest qualification course in which your visa was granted, you might choose to change courses or educational sectors.
If you choose to change education sectors you must apply for a new visa and continue to study your original course until your new visa is granted for your new course.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Kumar arrived in Australia on a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) student visa.
He commenced his bachelor degree at Wattle University; studying a Bachelor of Communication to learn about the role of communication in modern society. Kumar had aspirations to open his own mobile phone store.
After two months studying Kumar decided he wanted to change to a Diploma of Marketing. He felt the diploma course was more suited to his career aspiration as it would provide him with sound theory and knowledge of marketing to enable him to progress his career prospects in sales and marketing management.
While continuing his studies at Wattle University, Kumar researched education providers and approached Bottlebrush Institute and enquired about enrolling in a Diploma of Marketing. The Bottlebrush Institute administration staff advised Kumar he would need to provide a release letter from Wattle University, before he could enrol in this diploma course. Kumar was confused and didn’t understand why he needed a release letter. The administration staff explained that a release letter was required because he had not completed six months of the Bachelor of Communication for which his subclass 573 visa was granted.
Following receipt of this advice from the Bottlebrush College, Kumar checked the conditions of his student visa with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The department confirmed Kumar’s visa was granted to study in the higher education sector at Wattle University. If he wanted to study a Diploma of Marketing, he needed a Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) student visa, which is the correct visa for students who study a vocational education and training course.
Upon receiving this information Kumar continued studying his Bachelor of Communication at Wattle University. He decided after completing six months of this course he would transfer to the diploma.
He later applied for the diploma course with the other institution and obtained a confirmation of enrolment for the diploma. He then applied for a Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) student visa which was granted to him so that he could undertake the diploma course. Stopping study to work for a while
Most student visa holders can only work 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session.
You must continue to study as the holder of a student visa.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
José arrived in Australia on a Vocational Education and Training Sector (subclass 572) student visa.
He was from Peru and came to study in Australia as he had heard it was a great country to receive an education.
José enrolled in a Diploma of Information Technology. He was not sure what career path he would eventually take and felt that information technology was a good starting place.
He commenced his Diploma at Boomerang College and made a lot of friends in Australia while studying. One of his friends told him about casual work available at the local Greek Taverna and José started to work there on weekends. He was aware of his visas work conditions and only worked 10 hours per day on the weekends to ensure he didn’t work more than the maximum of 40 hours per fortnight allowed.
José enjoyed working at the Greek Taverna and wanted to increase his hours for a short while. He stopped attending classes and thought he would return to Boomerang College the following semester.
As his intention was to only work full-time for one semester, José did not think there would be a problem with not attending class.
A short while later, José received a notice from Boomerang College advising they were going to report him to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for unsatisfactory attendance. The notice said he could access the College’s complaints and appeals. José was surprised to receive the notice and the following day attended Boomerang College to speak with the student advisor.
José explained he intended to work full-time this semester and return to his diploma the following semester. The student advisor told José he was breaching his visa conditions by working full-time and not attending classes. The advisor explained students are able to defer or temporarily suspend their studies; however this would only be approved on the grounds of compassionate and compelling circumstances. He was also told that suspending or cancelling his enrolment might affect his student visa.
José did not take the advice he received from the student advisor seriously and continued to work full-time.
Boomerang College cancelled José’s confirmation of enrolment and José soon received a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation of his student visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. He did not respond to the notice and the department cancelled his student visa.
As a result of the cancellation, José is barred from applying for various types of visas while in Australia and would likely be subject to a three-year exclusion period (re-entry ban) that would affect his ability to be granted a further temporary visa. José lost his job and no longer had a visa – he had to return to his home country. Note: You must not engage in work before commencing your studies in Australia. Generally, most student visa holders are not permitted to work more than 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session. Read more about working while studying in Australia. Personal problems affecting studies
Seek treatment from a professional.
If you are having difficulties in your course talk to your student advisor.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Swati successfully completed a Certificate IV in Business at the Blue Gum Institute and applied for a second visa – a Higher Education Sector (subclass 573) student visa to study a Bachelor in Management at the Australia University. She hoped these skills would help her family’s business in India.
One week before Swati was due to start her management degree, she received a call from her father informing Swati that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. Swati was upset and worried about her mother and would ring India every few hours. She wanted to return home but her father insisted she continue her studies in Australia. Swati tried hard to continue with her studies but she could not concentrate because she was stressed and anxious about her mother’s health.
Swati’s course attendance started to decline, until she was too stressed and anxious to attend her studies at all. Swati received a warning letter from the Australia University advising that her course progress was not adequate and she risked being reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This made Swati feel depressed.
Swati went to see the student advisor at the Australia University for advice. The advisor suggested she go and speak to a doctor. Swati went to her local doctor who referred her to a psychologist.
The psychologist diagnosed Swati with depression. Swati wanted to feel better before continuing her studies. She took her documentation from the doctor and psychologist to the student advisor. The advisor granted Swati a deferral on the grounds of compassionate circumstances.
One week after the deferral was granted, Swati returned home to India for the period of her deferral. She took her medical and deferral documents with her as well as her new confirmation of enrolment that showed she would recommence her course in six months.
Swati felt better at home and was able to support her mother. She returned to Australia five and half months later and resumed her course two weeks after arriving in Australia. Note: You might be questioned about your deferral by the department. It is important that you have access to any medical and/or deferral documents, especially if you intend to travel outside of Australia. This will ensure that you are able to present evidence to the department in the instance that you are questioned about your deferral while you are outside of Australia Guardian departs Australia and leaves student minor in Australia
Before departure, ensure that you make adequate welfare arrangements for the student minor.
Appropriately inform the school and the department of these welfare arrangements prior to departure.
Names of people and education providers in this story are fictional for the purposes of this case study.
Romita came to Australia on a guardian visa to look after her son Surjit while he studied his high school qualifications.
All was going well until Romita’s husband Kirpal became ill and she needed to go home while her husband was in hospital for an operation. Romita thought she would need to be in India for six weeks while her husband recovered.
Romita did not know what to do – she did not want to take Surjit with her. He was studying in year 12 and she felt it was important for him to do well in his studies. Romita talked to Surjit’s school to ask for their advice.
Surjit’s school advised Romita she should make alternate welfare arrangements for Surjit before she leave Australia. The school offered to help find a homestay arrangement for Surjit. Romita said she had a 26 year old daughter who lived nearby in Australia. The school said they would be happy with a close relative looking after Surjit as long as the department approved the arrangement before Romita left Australia.
Romita called the department to seek advice. The immigration officer advised her if she could submit evidence of the need to travel, it would be appropriate for her to arrange for her daughter, provided she was more than 21 years of age, to look after Surjit in her absence. She was also advised that form 157N must be submitted together with information for her expected date of return. She was advised that the department should be informed of any change in circumstances.
Romita submitted this information to the department and her daughter was approved as the temporary guardian of Surjit. The immigration officer advised Romita she should take the confirmation of the changed welfare arrangements with her when she travelled in and out of Australia.
Romita returned home and cared for Kirpal. Once he was able to look after himself, Romita returned to Australia and stayed until Surjit finished his schooling, which was just before his 18th birthday.
Read more about education providers approving care arrangements for students less than 18 years old.Form 157N also explains what is and who can become a guardian.
To read common queries about changing courses, see the FAQ section of Department of Immigration and Border Protection website [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] .
More than 74,000 applications were lodged in September quarter 2013, the highest for the quarter in the past four years
International students Increase comes after slump caused by a ‘perfect storm’ of migration rule changes, bad publicity about safety and the strong dollar.
A large increase in international student visa applications in Australia has raised the sector’s hopes of moving on from the slump caused by a “perfect storm” of a series of migration rule changes, bad publicity about the nation’s safety, and the strong dollar.
More than 74,000 student visa applications were lodged in the September 2013 quarter, 7.1% higher than the same period in 2012 and the highest for this quarter in the last four years, according to figures published by the Department of Immigration this week.
The strong signs follow a tough three years for Australia’s international education sector, which experienced rapid growth until a series of developments, including violent crimes committed against foreign students and a government clampdown on misuse of the system as a pathway to permanent residency.
A 2011 discussion paper noted “the rapidity and magnitude of changes to migration and student visa policy settings”. Other problems were the strength of the Australian dollar, bad publicity from education provider closures that displaced thousands of students, the effects of the global financial crisis, and increased competition from international education providers elsewhere.
The executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, Phil Honeywood, welcomed the latest increase in visa applications, saying the original crackdown caused “pain” to the sector but was motivated by genuine concerns.
Honeywood said some people had enrolled in two-year diplomas in cooking or hairdressing at a cost of $10,000 a year as a pathway to permanent residency.
In 2011 a report by government-appointed reviewer Michael Knight said Labor’s changes were “not made arbitrarily or capriciously”. The number of international student enrolments grew from 274,060 in 2002 to 619,119 in 2010, including a rapid increase in the vocational education and training sector. This growth was driven by the fact students were “virtually guaranteed” permanent residence if they completed courses related to “very long lists” of particular occupations in demand and skilled jobs.
“Some less reputable institutions set up courses with no serious educational purpose but basically designed to get fees from students en route to a migration outcome. Further down the food chain some nefarious operators set up whole institutions as nothing more than a migration scam,” Knight wrote in his report.
“Then there were some unscrupulous education agents on impossibly high commissions, funnelling students with fraudulent documents into any course irrespective of the quality of the course or the student.”
Knight said changes the Rudd government put in place in 2009 and 2010 created a perception in some parts of the world that Australia had “rolled up the welcome mat”.
They included stronger scrutiny of applicants in Australia’s major markets, leading to an increased rejection rate. Applications were required to have access to $18,000 to cover expenses for each year of study, up from $12,000. The government also revoked the list of migration occupations in demand, weakening the link between studying and permanent residence.
Since that time, authorities have sought to make Australia a more attractive destination.
From March 2012, “streamlined visa processing” ensured that prospective students faced a less onerous application process if they provided confirmation of enrolment from a participating university in Australia at bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level. Such applications were treated as though they were a lower migration risk, regardless of their country of origin.
“Streamlined processing has been very good for public universities because they’re the only ones that have been allowed to have it,” Honeywood said.
“You haven’t had to have as much paperwork, you’ve been judged as having a low level risk … but it’s meant that other key players have been left out of the loop, including some high-quality private colleges and also some public TAFEs.”
The Coalition government has announced plans to extend streamlined visa processing to up to 22 “low-risk, non-university providers” such as colleges and TAFEs.
It has also flagged changes to assessment levels and the easing of financial evidence requirements, so long as the funds were from a close relative of the student application. The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said this would mean students from a number of key markets would be able to apply for a student visa with up to $40,000 less in the bank.
The government statistics, released this week, showed there were 346,965 international student visa holders in Australia at the end of September. Offshore student visa lodgements increased by 27.6% – and total student visa grants rose by 13.6% – in the September quarter compared with the same period in the previous year. The application success rate was 94.3%.
Honeywood said a lot of factors might be influencing the upward trend, but it was significant enough to indicate the new visa regime had “become more acceptable to overseas education agents and to some of our traditional markets”.
“It’s pointing in the right direction and there have been enough quarters now trending up rather than down,” he said.
The deputy chief executive of Universities Australia, Greg Evans, said he saw potential to reach the high numbers experienced “before the sector was hit by the combined negative impact of changed visa conditions, concerns over safety and an elevated currency”.
Evans pointed to “encouraging” increases from Nepal (up 29% compared with the same quarter a year earlier), India (up 7%), Vietnam (up 42%) and China (up 5%).
“These welcome figures reflect both improved regulatory and visa conditions provided by government as well as the tireless efforts of our universities,” Evans said.
The Migration Council Australia chief executive, Carla Wilshire, said international education was one of the nation’s biggest export earners and represented a long term-investment in economic and political ties to the growing powers in the neighbourhood.
“The rebound in international student numbers is a welcome sign that efforts to streamline the visa process and improve the integrity of the system are working,” she said.
A government spokesman said the Coalition welcomed the rise in international student numbers and was working to grow the sector, which he said was “damaged by the mismanagement of the previous Labor government”.
The education minister, Christopher Pyne, has previously acknowledged that changes “were certainly needed to weed out a number of poor providers” but argued “it wasn’t well handled and it all fed a sense of rapid change and uncertainty for the education sector”.
SOURCE: theguardian.com Daniel Hurst, Friday 17 January 2014
Study Group is to take over an existing pathway college at the Australian National University (ANU).
Based in Canberra, ANU is one of Australia’s top-ranked universities. It established ANU College to provide English language and other courses intended to prepare international students for further study.
Study Group’s chief executive David Leigh told EducationInvestor that the university had “done a great job of getting the college where it is today. But it’s had to do that with the resources it has. It doesn’t have the marketing platform it can now rely on with us”.
He added that the partnership would be a net contributor to Study Group’s finances from its first year.
The announcement came as the firm released its results for the nine months to 30 September 2013.
The figures show a 7% increase in total revenue, to £198.3 million (29012: £184.8 million), and a 26% increase in ebitda, to £29.6 million (2012: £23.5 million).
In a statement, the firm highlighted growth in business units including UK higher education, career education and Embassy English language teaching. The group also reported an operating cash flow of £3.9 million, and a cash balance of £27.2 million, at the end of the period.
Formed in 1994, Study Group offers university pathways, career education and English language teaching in Europe, Australasia and North America. But it’s had a tough few years, suffering a pre-tax loss of £33.6 million in 2012, and £27 million in 2011.
As well as its own brand, Study Group owns and operates Embassy language schools, Bellerbys sixth form colleges and a number of Australian colleges. Providence Equity Partners bought the firm for £388 million in July 2010.
In September, the firm raised £205 million through a bond issue, using the money to cover its debts.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison has recently joined Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne to announce a series of measures which would ease student visa rules to improve Australia’s international sector.
In the announcement, the two Ministers revealed that Australian government will simplify student visas by streamlining the assessment-level framework (ALF) and by extending streamlined visa processing arrangements to non-university degree providers with low risk.
As Minister Morrison stated, the measure package includes reducing assessment levels under the ALF from five to three, as well as reducing financial evidence requirements for AL3 students from 18 months to 12 months, as long as the student applicant is funded by a close relative. The change would help foreign students from a number of key markets be able to apply for an Australian student visa with a bank account of up to $AUD 40,000 less than that required by the current rule.
“The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia’s education system more attractive for overseas students,” said Minister Morrison.
The streamlined visa application process is said to benefit up to 22 low-risk non-university providers that deliver Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees, or providers for students enrolled in an eligible exchange program.
The measures are expected to make the international education sector attract more foreign students to Australia, as well as to restore it as one of Australia’s most important economic contributors.
“These changes would allow the vocational training sector to contribute more freely to our plan to restore Australia’s tertiary education system to its former peak of almost $19 billion in export income for the nation,” said Minister Pyne. “The non-university education system supports thousands of Australian jobs directly, and indirectly. If we cut red tape and allow more students into Australia to access a world-class tertiary education we all stand to gain.”
If you are interested in Australian visas, contact International Education Agency – Australia (IEAA) for information and advice on which visa is best suited to you. You can also try our migration services to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa to Australia.
The student visa program enables overseas students to come to Australia to undertake full-time study in registered courses.
When processing applications, the department ensures:
·transparency in the requirements to be granted a student visa
·consistency in decision-making
·integrity of the student visa program by using objective measures of risk to determine visa requirements.
Before applying for a student visa, students must have been accepted for full-time study in a registered course in Australia.
A registered course is an accredited education or training course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and offered by an Australian education provider registered to offer courses to overseas students. See:CRICOS
Applying for a student visa
Students must apply for a visa in the sector that relates to their main course of study:
·Independent English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector (subclass 570) visa
·Schools sector (subclass 571) visa
·Vocational Education and Training sector (subclass 572) visa
·Higher Education sector (subclass 573) visa
·Postgraduate Research sector (subclass 574) visa
·Non-award sector (subclass 575) visa
·AusAID and Defence sector (subclass 576) visa.
Generally, only students subject to Assessment Level 1 or students eligible for streamlined visa processing may be granted their first student visa while they are in Australia. Other students may only be able to obtain their first student visa while they are in Australia under exceptional circumstances. See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels(formerly known as Form 1219i)(144KB PDF file)
Students who already have a student visa to study in Australia, but want to change their main course of study to one in a different education sector must apply for a new student visa in the education sector appropriate to their new main course of study. See:Applying for a student visa(formerly known as Form 1160i) (128KB PDF file)
Assessment factors and streamlined visa processing
Students must provide evidence to satisfy the assessment criteria that apply to them before they can be granted a student visa. This may include evidence that they have the financial capacity to cover living costs in Australia—tuition fees, travel costs and capacity to support any family members. Applicants must also satisfy criteria for proficiency in English, level of education and other matters such as the potential to breach visa conditions.
The evidence required for these criteria varies according to the student visa applicant’s assessment level. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest evidentiary requirements and Assessment Level 5 represents the highest. See: Student Visa Program—Assessment Levels(formerly known as Form 1219i)(144KB PDF file)
Streamlined visa processing is available for prospective international students with a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) from a participating university at bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level. Student visa applicants who are eligible for streamlined visa processing are not subject to assessment levels. See: The university sector streamlined visa processing( 80KB PDF file)
All students and accompanying family members must meet character and health requirements and obtain overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the duration of their visa. Students from Belgium, Norway and Sweden may not need OSHC if they have acceptable health cover offered by those countries.
Passport holders from certain countries may be entitled to Medicare, however it is still a requirement for overseas students to obtain OSHC for the duration of their stay in Australia while on a student visa. See:Health insurance for students
Students may ‘package’ their studies to combine a preliminary course with their main course of study on the one student visa. The subclass that applies to the package would be the one that corresponds to the main course of study. The student’s assessment level is based on the package of courses they are studying. See: Course packaging
Students and dependent family members who were granted a student visa before 26 April 2008 and have not yet applied for permission to work may only apply for permission to work after they have started their course in Australia. See:How to apply for permission to work
Students and their dependent family members with permission to work must not undertake work until the main student visa holder has started their course in Australia. They are limited to 40 hours work per fortnight while their course is in session, but may work unlimited hours during formal holiday periods. Holders of a Postgraduate Research (subclass 574) visa who have started their course have unrestricted permission to work.
Student visa holders found to be working in excess of their limited work rights may be subject to visa cancellation.
Family members’ permission to work
Family members who have permission to work can work up to 40 hours per fortnight once the main student visa holder has started the course of study.
Where students are on a Higher Education (subclass 573) visa, Postgraduate (subclass 574) or AusAID and Defence (subclass 576) visa and have started a masters or doctorate course, any family member who has permission to work can do so for unlimited hours.
No extension of stay
Most Assessment Level 3 and all Assessment Level 4 students (except those in the schools sector) undertaking a course or courses of 10 months duration or less, are subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. This condition generally prevents students from extending their stay in Australia, although they may apply for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa or a student visa with permission to work or a student visa with permission to work.
If an Assessment Level 3 student provides evidence of funds to cover a further 12 month stay, the ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition is no longer mandatory.
Students who are sponsored by the Australian Government, or the government of their home country, may also be subject to a ‘Further Stay Restricted’ condition. They will only be able to extend their studies in Australia if the sponsoring government gives written consent.
Change of address
Students must inform their education provider of their current residential address within seven days of arrival and of any change of address in Australia within seven days of the change. Students must also notify their current provider of any change of enrolment to a new provider.
Family members aged 18 years or over may only study for up to three months. If they want to undertake a course of study that exceeds three months, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.
School-age family members, children aged 5–18 years, who join the student in Australia for more than three months must attend school. The student must meet any associated education or tuition costs for that child.
A student’s child aged 18 years or over cannot apply for a student visa as a family member. If they want to study in Australia, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.
Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa
Where students are under 18 years of age, it is possible for a parent or relative to apply for a student guardian visa to accompany them to Australia. The student guardian visa allows that person to stay in Australia to care for the student until they turn 18. A student guardian does not have permission to work while in Australia.
The student visa program report is a quarterly statistical publication that provides data on the student visa program administered by the department. This report will be a valuable resource for anyone who has an interest in the international student sector. See:Student visa statistics
Further information for students
TheEducation Services for Overseas Student Act 2000provides important safeguards for overseas students in Australia. The Act regulates the activities of education providers delivering education and training to international students by setting standards and providing tuition and financial assurance. See:Australian Education International
If students choose to work part-time while studying in Australia they have the same work rights as Australian permanent residents and citizens. For more information and advice about conditions of employment in Australia students can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman. See:Fair Work Ombudsman
Further information is available on the department’s website. See:www.immi.gov.au
The department also operates a national general enquiries line. Telephone:131 881 Hours of operation:Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Recorded information is available outside these hours.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne: “We need new architecture in international education.” Picture: Ray Strange. Source: The Australian
EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne has promised to open the jobs market to more overseas students who have graduated from Australian universities, as a means of rehabilitating the stagnant $14 billion international education industry.
In his first speech on the industry since he was sworn in as minister, Mr Pyne said yesterday the Abbott government would move quickly to extend the streamlined visa process beyond universities to training colleges, and maximise career opportunities in Australia for the best foreign graduates of our universities.
Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said he was troubled by any policy changes that used migration or easier labour market access as a lure to sell education, especially if it encouraged a repeat of last decade’s boom in low-quality diplomas pitched at foreign students seeking permanent residency.
“We know from past experience there are literally hundreds of operators who are skilled in packaging courses that provide the cheapest possible entry,” Dr Birrell said.
Under the Howard government, which linked gaining an Australian tertiary qualification with permanent residency, thousands of students swarmed into low-level vocational diplomas and dozens of dodgy private colleges exploited the lax policy.
Mr Pyne acknowledged past abuses and said preventing any repeat would be “very much part of our planning, to get that right”.
“But Labor used a sledgehammer to break a walnut (following the excesses of the education-migration boom) and we don’t want to repeat that error. But we also don’t want to go back to a situation where people lose faith in the quality of education in Australia.”
Mr Pyne told the Australian International Education Conference in Canberra he would work with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to maximise the international student market while maintaining visa integrity and educational quality.
Universities Australia welcomed Mr Pyne’s speech as showing the government’s intention “to turbo-charge international education policy against a backdrop of declining enrolments and export revenue”.
A report from accountancy firm Deloitte yesterday identified education exports as one of five “super-growth” sectors offering prosperity as the mining investment boom recedes.
At yesterday’s conference, attended by several hundred education delegates from around the world, Mr Pyne said Labor had presided over a decline in education exports from $18.6bn in 2009 to a little more than $14bn last year – “quite an achievement in a growing economy”.
He cited forecasts that the Asia-Pacific middle class would rise from 500 million to 3.2 billion by 2030, and that the number of young people in the world looking to study abroad would double to more than seven million by 2020.
The National Tertiary Education Union said last night it feared Mr Pyne’s proposal was part of a broader government strategy to avoid increasing taxpayer funding to universities.
Jeannie Rea, the union’s national president, said the government was seeking to increase international student fee revenue to universities rather than plug the direct funding gap faced by universities. “It becomes a cross subsidisation,” Ms Rea said.