November 8, 2013

What are the requirements to apply for a post study working visa after completing a one year Postgraduate course? What is the fee for this type of visa? What are the criteria for this type of visa, including registration? Do I need to take any exams such as IELTS?

To be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa, you would need to have completed a course or courses taking at least 2 years of study in Australia.

You could potentially use a 1-year postgraduate course as part of the 2-year study requirement, but would need to have completed at least one other qualification taking at least one academic year of study in Australia.

The application fee for a Post Study Work Visa depends on the number of people included in the visa application.

A summary of these is below:

$1·         $ 1,440: Main Applicant

$1·         $ 720: Each spouse or dependent aged 18 or over

$1·         $ 360: Each dependent child aged under 18

Note that a surcharge of $90 applies for each applicant if lodging a paper application rather than an online application.

The main criteria for a Post-Study Work (Subclass 485) Visa are as follows:

$1·         Competent English: Minimum of 6 in each of the 4 bands of IELTS, OET B pass or holder of a UK, US, Ireland, Canada or NZ passport

$1·         Australian Study: You must have completed qualifications taking at least 2 academic years of study in Australia. The studies must be at the bachelor level or higher, and cannot include Graduate Diplomas or Graduate Certificates unless they gave credits towards completion of a Masters or PhD.

$1·         You must lodge your application within 6 months of completion of your Australian studies

$1·         You must have applied for your first student visa after 5 November 2011

Note that you may qualify for the Graduate Work Stream of the 485 visa even if you do not meet the above criteria.

Is bridging visa automatically granted for those who apply for 485 visas?

$1·         A bridging visa is granted providing a valid application for a 485 visa is lodged.

$1·         Where the applicant holds a student visa when they apply for a 485 visa, a Bridging A visa would be granted. This gives full work rights, but ceases if the student leaves Australia. If the student wishes to travel outside Australia during processing of their application, they should apply for a Bridging B visa.

$1·         If the student holds a Bridging Visa when they apply for a 485 visa, a Bridging C visa would be granted. This also gives full work rights, but it is not possible to obtain a Bridging B visa to facilitate travel.

$1·         Will it affect my migration application if I applied for an exemption/advanced standing on some subjects, meaning I did not complete all the subjects in Australia?

$1·         For a student to meet the Australian Study requirement, they must have completed courses taking at least 2 academic years in Australia.

$1·         Two academic years is defined by the regulations as studies taking at least 92 weeks as registered on CRICOS (http://cricos.deewr.gov.au/).

$1o   If academic exemptions have been granted for overseas studies, then the amount of weeks the student is taken to have completed in Australia is reduced. This can result in the student becoming ineligible for a Temporary Graduate visa if too many exemptions are granted.

$1§  For example – a student completes a Master Degree in Australia which normally requires 16 units and is registered for 104 weeks on CRICOS.

$1§  If they obtain 1 unit exemption for overseas studies, they are taken to have completed: 15/16 * 104 = 97.5 weeks of study. This would meet the Australian study requirement as it is over 92 weeks.

$1§  If they obtain 2 units of exemptions, they are taken to have completed 14/16 * 104 = 91 weeks of study, which would not meet the requirement.

What are the possibilities for an international student to get a working visa without any sponsorship? Can an international student study part time in postgraduate?

$1·         Most working visas req
uire sponsorship by an employer.

$1·         However, there are a number of options which do not require sponsorship, including:

$1o   A Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visa: for students completing qualifications taking at least 2 Academic Years of study in Australia

$1o   A Working Holiday subclass 417 visa: for people aged under 31 who hold passports from certain countries only

$1o   It is also possible to use a visitor visa or student visa to explore business opportunities and in some cases establish a business in Australia. In this case, it may be possible for the student to “self-sponsor” for a 457 visa. The business would need to be relatively well established and have Australian workers for this to be possible.

If studying in Australia on a student visa, the student must study full time, even if this is at postgraduate level.

$1·         Students who are studying a masters degree by research or doctoral degree can work full time once they have commenced their studies.

$1·         Spouses and partners of students completing a master or doctoral degree can work full time also.

What are the requirements for English for the post study working visa?

$1·         Students must show that they have Competent English to qualify for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa. There are three ways of establishing this:

$1o   Minimum of 6 in each of the 4 bands of IELTS

$1o   OET B pass

$1o   Being a holder of a UK, US, Ireland, Canada or NZ passport

$1·         If testing is required, it must be conducted prior to lodgement of the 485 visa. Tests up to 3 years old can be used for the purposes of General Skilled Migration.

After graduation, what do I need to do to apply for skill migration (permanent visa)? What are the conditions and procedure?

$1·         There are a number of different General Skilled Migration types, and the process depends on which of these you are going for:

$1o   Skilled Independent Subclass 189: this requires an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) but does not require sponsorship by a relative or state/territory government

$1o   Skilled Nominated Subclass 190: this requires an occupation on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List and a nomination by a state or territory government

$1o   Skilled Regional (Provisional) Subclass 489: requires either sponsorship by a relative living in a designated area or by a state or territory government

$1·         In general, the application process for General Skilled Migration is as follows:

$1o   Complete English language testing

$1o   Complete Skills Assessment

$1o   Make Expression of Interest through SkillSelect

$1o   For subclass 190 or 489, complete state nomination

$1o   Once a SkillSelect invitation is received, make the application for a skilled migration visa

$1o   Complete Health and Police checks

$1o   Only once the SkillSelect Invitation is received and the application for the skilled migration visa is lodged would a student receive a bridging visa.

$1·         Many students do not have sufficient time to go through all the required processes before their stu
dent visas expire and so must rely on making an application for a Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visa on completion of their studies.

What are the chances that I would be employed here in Australia after I finish my course?

It’s difficult to give a general answer to this question. However, you can improve your chances of obtaining a skilled job by:

$1·         Improve your English Language Ability:  improving your communication skills will significantly increase your effectiveness in an interview

$1·         Seeking work in your field during your studies:  even if you work as an unpaid intern in your occupation, this can make your CV more impressive and help you to make contacts with potential employers

$1·         Making use of the University Careers Centre:  the Careers Centre can give you tips on preparing your resume and interview technique, as well as give you information on potential employers in your field

$1·         Professional Year:  if you are studying IT, Engineering or Accounting, you can complete a Professional Year after your studies. As this involves an internship, as well as workplace skills training, this can greatly enhance your chance of getting a skilled job after your studies

$1·         Making friends with your Australian classmates:  Most jobs are not advertised and the better your contacts, the more likely you will be aware of job opportunities which arise

My postgraduate research sector visa (subclass 574) expires on 28 Feb 2015. How long I can stay in Australia after my projected PhD thesis submission on March 2014?

$1·         If your visa was granted after 5 November 2011, your 574 visa should be valid for 6 months after the usual duration of your course. This gives you additional time to allow for marking and re-submission of your thesis.

$1o    Once your thesis has been accepted and you have met the requirements for award of your qualification, you should look at applying for a visa for further stay in Australia as soon as possible.

$1o   Once you have met requirements for award of your qualification, your university will notify the Department of Immigration that you have completed. Unless you have applied for further stay, it’s quite possible that the Department of Immigration will look at cancelling your visa.

$1·         If marking takes longer than 6 months, you may need to either extend your student visa or notify the Department of Immigration that marking is taking longer than anticipated.

$1·         It appears that your 574 visa will be valid for almost 12 months after submission of your thesis. Your visa will allow you to remain in Australia for 6 months after submission or until your thesis is accepted, whichever is sooner. I would recommend that you look at visa options to extend your stay once your thesis is marked, and would certainly not rely on remaining in Australia for 12 months after submission on your current 574 visa.

 

What are the requirements for the 457 employer sponsor visa?

There are three stages to the 457 visa application :

$11.       Sponsorship:  Employer would need to apply for approval as a Standard Business Sponsor. To get this approval, the business will need to provide evidence of financial position, record of training Australians in the business to at least 1% of payroll (unless sponsor is an overseas entity).

$12.       Nomination:  Employer has to apply for permission to fill a nominated position with overseas national. The position needs to meet minimum salary requirements – currently $53,900 minimum annual salary and also be at the applicable market rate. Your occupation needs to be on the approved list of occupations (CSOL).

$13.       Personal: Employee has to demonstrate they have skills necessary to fill the position, meet English requirements (Vocational English – minimum of 5 in each of the 4 components of IELTS) and all members of the family travelling to Australia must meet health requirements

 

Will I be eligible for the post study working visa if I completed one year master from another university and now I am doing a second master from UWS? I came to Australia before November, however my course started in Feb 2012.

$1·         If you came to Australia prior to November 2011, you will unfortunately not be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa. You may, however, be eligible for a 485 visa in the Graduate Work stream.

$1·         It is possible to use two master degree qualifications to meet the required Australian study requirement. The total numb
er of weeks required to complete the qualifications must be at least 92 weeks as registered on CRICOS, and caution must be used if there have been academic exemptions.

 

Are students allowed to partake in business such as Import/Export or any sole proprietor business in Australia?

$1·         Students are allowed to start a business in Australia whilst holding a student visa. However, students should be cautious about the following:

$1o   Not exceeding the 40 hours per fortnight limitation 8105/8104

$1o   Ensuring that they have all the relevant business registrations and licensing, and make the necessary tax lodgements

$1o   Students should consult an accountant to ensure that their business is properly set up to trade lawfully in Australia.

 

What steps would be required to change from a Post Study Work Arrangements Visa to a Permanent Residency Visa? How long would this process take?

$1·         There are a number of permanent residency options which students can look at whilst on a Post Study Work visa. These include:

$1o   General Skilled Migration: outlined above

$1o   Employer Sponsorship: if you have a job offer with an Australian employer

$1o   Family Sponsorship: if you have an Australian partner or other relatives in Australia.

$1o   Processing times vary depending on which option you choose, but can take anywhere from 3-4 months to 12-18 months.

As a PhD student of marketing, what visa can I apply for as a Tutor or lecturer? When should I apply for it? How long does it take to process?

$1·         The occupations of Tutor and Lecturer are on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List (CSOL) but not on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL).

$1·         This means that you can apply for employer sponsored or state/territory sponsored visas, but not for the skilled independent subclass 189 visa.

$1·         In terms of the Graduate Temporary subclass 485 visa, you could apply for the Post Study Work stream, but not for the Graduate Work Stream.

$1·         To qualify for the Post Study Work stream, you would need to have applied for your first student visa prior to 5 November 2011. However, there is no occupations list and you can use potentially any qualifications at the bachelor, master or doctorate level regardless of which discipline you have studied in.

$1·         To qualify for the Graduate Work stream, you must nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). Unfortunately, the occupations of marketing specialist, university lecturer and university tutor are not on the Skilled Occupations List.

I applied for a student visa before Nov 2011, doing a course on SOL, but by the time I am finished, the course is no longer on SOL, how do I get a work permit then?

$1·         If your occupation is no longer on the SOL, then it may not be possible to apply for Graduate Work Stream.

$1·         The following options require your occupation to be on the CSOL, which is much wider than the SOL:

$1o   Employer Sponsorship

$1o   State/Territory Nomination: ie the Skilled Nominated Subclass 190 or the Skilled Regional Provisional Subclass 489 visa

$1·         If you are unable to lodge prior to the expiry of your current student visa, you may need to either:

$1o   Extend your studies in Australia; or

$1o   Await the outcome of your application overseas

Need help with your Visa?

If you would like a full assessment of your visa options, please Contact Us to book a consultation with one o
f our experts.

November 7, 2013

The number of visa applications granted for overseas students to study in Australia has increased by approximately 4% marking the second year in a row of growth for the sector.

Numbers had previously been falling but the financial year 2012/2013 has seen figures rise with the previous year of 290,761 applications lodged compared with 280,003, according to data from the annual Student Visa Programme Trends report.

In the second quarter of 2013, approximately 93% of visa applications assessed during this period were granted a visa.

The report shows that student visa numbers have returned to a sustainable growth over the last two years and this is part of a broader trend throughout the past 10 years.

The report states that this growth has been driven by applications lodged outside of Australia which increased by 11.1% in the same period and there were 304,251 student visa holders in Australia as of 30 June 2013. Of these visa holders, 23.4% were from China, the largest cohort, followed by 10% from India.

During the June 2013 quarter, 75% of all student visas were processed within 30 days, while 50% were processed within 14 days. About 93% of applications assessed during this period were granted a visa.

International students must have a valid visa for the duration of their studies in Australia. Most international students will need a student visa. However, visitor visas permit up to three months study and working holiday maker visas permit up to four months study.

To be eligible for a student visa, applicants must be accepted for full time study in a course listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS.) Applicants must also meet financial, health insurance, English language proficiency and character requirements.

There is no limit on the number of student visas issued each year. If applicants meet requirements, they will be granted a student visa. Student visas are issued for the entire period of study in Australia. Visas are issued in alignment with the period for which the applicant has Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC.)

There are two other visas related to the student visa programme, the Student Guardian (subclass 580) visa and the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. The Student Guardian visa is for individuals who wish to accompany and care for minors studying in Australia. The Temporary Graduate visa allows international students to live and work in Australia temporarily after they have finished their studies.

Student visas include a condition that, once the course has commenced, allows most students to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight while their course is in session and for unlimited hours during course breaks.

There can be some confusion about working hours but students are urged to make sure that they know what they are permitted to do. ‘The limitation imposed by this visa condition reflects the purpose of a student visa; that it is to allow entry to Australia in order to study, not to work. Secondary visa holders are subject to a visa condition that limits them to 40 hours work per fortnight at any time,’ said an immigration spokesman.

March 8, 2013

 

Nearly three-quarters of Australians believe international students should be encouraged to stay in the country after completing their university studies, according to a survey.

Universities Australia has released research on perceptions of the tertiary sector on the eve of this week’s higher education conference in Canberra.

About 80 per cent of 300 business representatives surveyed and 72 per cent of 1000 members of the public said international students should be encouraged to stay in Australia on completion of their studies, particularly if sponsored by an employer.

”However, some stakeholder respondents have voiced concerns that the university system is perceived to be too heavily reliant on income from international student enrolments,” the report said.

”There is also a view that additional support, for instance with English language learning and better facilities such as affordable student housing, may be required.

”Participants were generally comfortable about the proportion of internationally students, at roughly 20 per cent.”

The study found Australian universities were generally well regarded, with 88 per cent of the surveyed public saying they would encourage their child or young people they knew to attend university.

Most saw the main role of universities to educate for skilled/professional jobs, with far fewer identifying the sector’s contribution to research and development – something Universities Australia described as being of ”some concern”.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said the study showed that people strongly valued international students, who helped build deep cultural ties with their fellow students and the wider community.

”International students are also playing a pivotal role in increasing our engagement with Asian nations during this Asian Century,” she said.

”They are helping Australia forge valuable links with their home countries, providing a cross-cultural dialogue with domestic students and sustaining ongoing relationships with Australia in their post-student lives.”

A spokesman for Universities Australia said the polling involved qualitative and quantitative research, including focus groups and surveys of the public and business.

He said the data was weighted to be representative of the Australian population and the whole business community.

The higher education conference, running from Wednesday to Friday, will include keynote speeches by new Tertiary Education Minister Chris Bowen, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Universities Australia chairman Glyn Davis, and former Treasury secretary Ken Henry.

 

By Daniel Hurst Feb. 26, 2013

Source: NewCastle Herald

November 9, 2012

 

Professor Lesleyanne Hawthorne writes:

Amid Australia’s ongoing doctor shortage, the health system risks losing dozens of Australian-trained, foreign-born doctors because of a shortage of intern places. The Australian Medical Students Association estimates the system needs 182 intern places to ensure all international students can finish their medical training and gain full registration as doctors.

These intern, (or post-graduate year one) places, are based in hospitals, which are run by the states. But the Commonwealth also bears some funding responsibility for medical training. The Commonwealth, state and territory health ministers are expected to discuss who should pay and potential solutions to the problem when they meet tomorrow in Perth.

Rise of international student migration

Over the past decade, international students have emerged as a prized and contested human capital resource. OECD and select Asian countries are expanding their international student flows, through global promotion strategies and regional migration programs, aligned with lower entry requirements, including for medical degrees.

International students have been immensely responsive to these migration options. In 1975, 600,000 international students were enrolled abroad, compared with 3.4 million in 2009. By 2025, it is predicted there will be 7.2 million international students studying globally.

A recent British Council survey of 153,000 international students confirmed opportunities for migration exert an extraordinary impact on the choice of study destination. While students sought a high quality, internationally recognised education, the scope to remain and work was found to “massively impact” both decisions and expectations.

 

In 1999, following the removal of a three-year eligibility bar, international students became immediately eligible to migrate to Australia. Within six years of the policy change, 52% of skilled migrants were selected onshore.

By 2010, 630,000 international students were enrolled in Australian courses (all fields and sectors). Of these, 18,487 were undertaking health degrees, including over 3,000 medical and 10,000 nursing students. International medical student graduates grew 223% from 1999 to 2009, compared with 52% growth in Australian domestic graduates.

International medical students

In 2009, the majority of international medical students were enrolled at

  • Monash,
  • Melbourne,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales and
  • Sydney universities.

Their source countries were highly diverse – most notably

  • Malaysia (1,134 students),
  • Singapore (577),
  • Canada (437),
  • the United States (84) and
  • Botswana (74), followed by
  • South Korea,
  • Brunei,
  • Hong Kong,
  • Indonesia and
  • Sri Lanka.

These international students achieve stellar rates of immediate employment and are highly attractive to local employers. As demonstrated by yet-to-be-published research conducted for the Medical Deans of Australia, 45% of international students plan to remain in Australia when they commence their studies. By their final year, 78% accept intern places (virtually all those who are not scholarship students sponsored by their home governments).

Australia’s Graduate Destination Survey from 2009-2011 reveals their employment outcomes to be near identical to those achieved by domestic students (99.6% working full-time at four months compared with 99.7%). The source country was almost irrelevant, with 100% of Canadian, US, Malaysian, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Norwegian and Botswanan students fully employed, compared with 97% from Singapore and 89% from China.

International medical graduates

As affirmed by the OECD, Australia has developed extraordinary reliance on international medical graduates (IMGs), who gain their qualifications overseas.

 

By 2006, 45% of Australian residents holding medical qualifications were overseas-born, including an estimated 25% who were overseas-qualified. The United Kingdom/Ireland, China, India, North Africa/ Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and the Philippines were major sources of migration.

This diversification of supply has proven extremely challenging for Australia. The 2006 census shows just 53% of IMGs secured medical employment in Australia in their first five years of residence (across all immigration categories).

Doctors from English-speaking background countries moved seamlessly into work, while Commonwealth-Asian doctors fared reasonably. Outcomes were poor, by contrast, for many birthplace groups. Just 6% of doctors from China found medical employment within five years, along with 23% from Vietnam and 31% from Eastern Europe.

 

Employment access is significantly better for IMGs selected through the 457 visa temporary sponsored pathway. From 2005-06 to 2010-11 17,910 doctors were sponsored as temporary 457 visa migrants to pre-arranged jobs, with a 99% immediate employment rate.

From 2004-05 to 2010-11, an additional 2,790 IMGs were admitted through the permanent General Skilled Migration category. But not all passed the Australian Medical Council examinations, which are a requirement for unconditional registration in Australia. From 1978 to 2010, 82% of candidates passed the MCQ (the standard theoretical examination), typically on their first or second attempt, along with 85% of clinical candidates. But overall AMC completion rates were just 43%, since many choose not to persist with the process.

Large numbers of IMGs face significant barriers to securing professional registration. By contrast, international medical students face no impediments: they’re of prime workforce age (far younger than IMGs) and have self-funded to meet Australian domestic requirements.

Medical students’ future

We know that large numbers of international medical students wish to migrate to Australia – and access to intern places is critical for them to secure permanent resident status.

If Australia fails to retain these graduates, other countries will. Singapore, for instance, actively recruits in Australia, in a context where the nation’s fertility rate is incredibly low. New Zealand annually registers over 1,200 IMGs per year, but two-thirds will have left within two years. So there is major interest in attracting Australian-trained graduates.

If Australia is serious about retaining international medical students in the future, it’s vital to provide access to intern training places. While the students’ long-term intentions are unknown, it’s clear they have great potential to address Australian workforce shortages in the future.

 

** Lesleyanne Hawthorne is Professor of International Health Workforce, at the Australian Health Workforce Institute, University of Melbourne

This article was first published by The Conversation. A reminder to www.mystudyinaustralia.com readers that TC articles are freely available for republishing under a creative commons licence.

November 9, 2012

 

The Australian National University (ANU) and University of Canberra have increased their international student numbers, bucking the national trend. So far this year the ANU has enrolled 5,392 international students. That is 40 more than in 2011. At the University of Canberra (UC) overseas students increased by 4 per cent in semester one to 2,130. Nationally, the number of international students has fallen 7 per cent for the year to September, with several interstate universities blaming the high Australian dollar.

ANU Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington says the national capital remains an attractive place to study. “What it comes down to is reputation for the quality of study, research reputation. Even simple things like is the environment a good place to live and is it a safe place to live?” she said.”All of those things are big ticks for Canberra.”

Professor Hughes-Warrington says the biggest growth has been in post-graduate study. “There’s an evolution towards graduate offerings and research offerings at ANU,” she said. “We’re seen as really strong in those areas because we’re such a strong research institution. We are increasingly seeing ourselves as a graduate destination of choice for students from around the world.”

 

SOURCE: ABC Online

By Clarissa Thorpe

November 7, 2012
November 7, 2012

 With seven of the world’s top 100 universities, Australia has confirmed its position as one of the world’s leading destinations for international students.

Australia has always punched above its weight in the QS World University Rankings, and 2012 is no exception. In fact, Australia’s haul of seven universities in the global top 100 is bettered only by the US and UK.

This tally includes all but one of Australia’s elite Group of Eight, the universities at which the bulk of the nation’s cutting-edge research has traditionally taken place.

  • Australia National University leads the pack in 24th place, extending its lead over second-placed
  • University of Melbourne, which drops slightly to 36.

Fellow Group of Eight members

  • University of Sydney (39) and
  • University of Queensland (46) make the global top 50, with a further three Aussie universities in the top 100:
  • University of New South Wales (52),
  • Monash University(61), and
  • University of Western Australia (79).

 

Great job prospects

So what makes Australian universities stand out? A big strength is their reputation among international employers, which will be good news both for Australian graduates and the 240,000 international students who study there each year.

Interestingly, employers identify the University of Melbourne as the nation’s top producer of graduate talent, and ninth in the world in this measure. The rest of the Group of Eight also performs strongly in this measure, alongside other Australian institutions such as RMIT University and the University of Wollongong.

This high level of international recognition for Australian graduates is testament to Australian universities’ success in preparing candidates for the workplace. Employers are asked to identify the universities that produce the best graduates, meaning the leading Australian universities are regarded as a great place to find highly skilled employees.

 

Global student mix

Australian universities’ success may also be linked to another factor: their internationally diverse character. Australian universities were among the first to really embrace internationalization, and as a result the campuses are meeting points for students and academics from all over the world.

Read More

October 30, 2012

IEAA glad to announce that after lobbying number of years, Australian NSW Government agreed to give student travel discounts for International Students.  The NSW Government has announced public transport fare discounts for international students as part of ongoing efforts to promote the State as a world-class location for international education.

 

Premier Barry O’Farrell made the announcement in India, where he is currently promoting NSW’s education credentials as part of a trade mission, while Acting Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner was joined at the University of Sydney by Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills Gabrielle Upton and Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton.

“International education is the State’s second biggest industry in terms of exports – worth $6 billion,” Mr O’Farrell said. “We have world-class universities, vocational institutions and research organisations, but we need to do more to attract international students seeking high quality education, cultural and employment experience. “The travel concessions announced today will increase the attraction of NSW as an ideal location for further education and provide better access to safe and affordable public transport options for overseas students.”

Mr Stoner said the changes mean international students will soon have access to public transport travel discounts of up to 35 per cent. “Enhancing NSW’s reputation as a highly regarded location for international education and research will be critical to our efforts to position the NSW economy for growth in the next decade,” Mr Stoner said.

“The new travel concessions are a direct response to a recommendation from the NSW Government’s International Education and Research Taskforce which released its final report today.”

Mr Stoner said the Taskforce’s final report outlines 21 specific recommendations for Government and Industry to help position NSW as a global leader in international education by 2021. “We have already begun acting on a number of matters highlighted by the Taskforce, with the NSW Strategy for Business Migration & Attracting International Students released earlier this year calling for the extension of streamlined visa processing and post study work rights for a broader pool of overseas students based in NSW,” Mr Stoner said. “Our full response to the Taskforce’s final report will be released soon, but our announcement today is a first step towards making NSW a more attractive international education destination.

“International students will have access to potential discounts of up to 35 per cent on MyMulti passes offering periodic unlimited travel on buses, trains, light rail and ferries in Greater Sydney, the Hunter and the Illawarra. “The discounts allow for potential savings of more than $800 on an annual MyMulti3 pass and more than $450 on an annual MyMulti2. Overseas students can also save more than $200 on a MyMulti3 90 day pass and $133 on a MyMulti2 90 day pass. “The savings can apply to all travel, not simply travel to and from students’ place of study, so this provides a fantastic opportunity for students to get out and explore Sydney and NSW.”

Ms Upton said the Taskforce’s final report identified a range of challenges and opportunities facing the NSW international education sector. “While the market for international students is increasingly competitive, opportunities for growth are enormous with global demand for international higher education forecast to grow from 2.2 million in 2005 to 3.7 million in 2025. China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia are predicted to account for over 60 per cent of this growth,” Ms Upton said.

“The final report of the NSW Government’s International Education and Research Taskforce outlines a range of measures Government and Industry can take to position NSW as a significant global player and Australia’s leading State for international education and research. “The report calls for the NSW Government to ramp up its efforts to lobby for Federal level improvements to the quality of teaching, courses and research. “The quality of the total student experience is also identified as a key target for improvement, with Government asked to consider issues including affordable accommodation and transport, access to part time employment, industry placements while studying, and employment on completion of study.

“The Taskforce also recommends creation of a new agency to provide a one-stop-shop for information for international students and to drive implementation of a range of other recommendations on issues including quality, migration, post study work rights and levels of research funding.”

For more information, please read the attached media release.

September 10, 2012

 

IEA-A glad to announce that TAFE NSW offers international students an opportunity to undertake Diplomas in Hospitality and Events at the same time with “guaranteed” paid work. In addition to that students can directly start to final year of the Bachelor of Business Degree Program. In total three years, three internationally recognised qualification:

–          Diploma of Hospitality

–          Diploma of Events

–          Bachelor of Business

–          and 3 years work experience

During “guaranteed” paid employment placements (minimum “guaranteed” 10 hours per week with $23 hourly rate). Students can start the work after completing first 3 months of the Hospitality diploma program. Students legally can work 20 hours per week during school weeks and full time during the holidays.

 

English Entry requirements:

  • IELTS 5.5 or equivalent

–          $6325 per semester ( total 4 semester in 2 year programs).

Fee covers tuition, uniforms, texts and registration with Work Solutions for paid employment.

Advantages

  • Two               Diplomas in 2 years or
  • Two diplomas + Bachelor of Business Degree in 3 years
    • Complete a Bachelor of Business with one more year of study in the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School
    • 2 years paid work experience at Australian Turf Club (ATC), Rosehill Gardens (2008 Restaurant and Catering NSW/ACT Award for Excellence’ and finalist in the ‘Venue Caterer’ category).

Intake

TAFETR English Course Oct 2012, Feb 2013

TAFENSW SWSI Diploma February, April, June, Sep 2013

Students need to start Diploma of Hospitality course (C18115) first and then Diploma of Events course (C18075). The Hospitality course starts on Feb, Apr, Jul, Sep in 2013 and offered at Campbelltown campus. You can find both courses details at the following link

http://www.detinternational.nsw.edu.au/tafe/courses/certificate_diploma_courses/cC18115.html

http://www.detinternational.nsw.edu.au/tafe/courses/certificate_diploma_courses/cC18075.html

Number of hours work placement

Students              gain a minimum               of 10 hours paid work a week (after a training period of 3 months without pay) during the course. They also have the opportunity for further work at major events in Sydney such as ANZ Stadium and the Easter show. The minimum hourly wage is $23/hour.

 

Career Opportunities

•     Cafe/Coffee Shop Operator

•     Hotel Service Supervisor

•     Hotel/Motel Manager

•     Event managers

•     Resort management

•     Event Coordinator

•     Venue coordinator

•     Conference coordinator

•     Exhibition coordinator

•     Event manager

•     Venue manager

•     Conference manager

•     Exhibition manager

 

Degree pathway

Diploma  graduates can gain credit of up to two years in either the Bachelor of Business (International Hotel and Resort Management) or Bachelor of Business (International Hotel Management) with our tertiary partner Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, ranked No: 1 InAustralasia*.

 

* by the Hotel and Tourism industry-conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) PLC in the United Kingdom, the world’s largest provider of custom research and analysis.

 

There are very limited number of places are available, so please make required announcement to your student base now to not miss this great opportunity.

 

For further information about the course, college locations and how to apply visit our website

www.mystudyinaustralia.com www.tafetr.net www.tafensw.edu.au

sydney@inteducation.com / info@tafetr.com

August 31, 2012

 

While most international students in Australia are full-fee paying students, another option is to apply for a scholarship.

Scholarships are offered by education institutions and a number of other organisations and the Australian Government.  They cover various educational sectors, including

  • vocational education and training,
  • student exchanges,
  • undergraduate and
  • postgraduate study and research.

Usually Australian Government scholarships are not available for English language training specifically in Australia. However, there are several English language training scholarships offered by Australian institutions.

For information on scholarships use Australian Government  Scholarships Database. It provides an accurate and reliable list of all scholarships supplied by Australian-based organisations, institutions and government bodies to international students studying or planning to study in Australia on a student visa.

The Australia Awards aim to promote knowledge, education links and enduring ties between Australia and our neighbours through Australia’s extensive scholarship programs.

The Australia Awards brings the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) scholarships together under the Australia Awards program.

Further information can be found at www.AustraliaAwards.gov.au

There are three programs available under the Australia Awards. They are:

  • Endeavour Awards is the Australian Government’s internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship program providing opportunities for citizens of the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Europe and the America’s to undertake study, research or professional development in Australia. Further information can be found at: www.deewr.gov.au/EndeavourAwards

 

  • Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) focus on developing leaders who can influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes in both their own countries and in the Asia-Pacific region. ALAs provide scholarship support for postgraduate studies in Australia and short-term fellowship opportunities in specialised research, study or professional attachments through participating Australian organisations. Further information can be found at: www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar

 

  • Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) aim to contribute to the long-term development needs of Australia’s partner countries to promote good governance, economic growth and human development. ADS provides people with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive change and influence the development outcomes of their own country, through obtaining tertiary qualifications at participating Australian institutions. Further information can be found at: www.ausaid.gov.au/scholar
August 25, 2012

 

USQ Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) student Clare Anthony took advantage of the Tafe pathway by completing a diploma before beginning her degree.

AN initiative developed between the University of Southern Queensland and Tafe Queensland to encourage more students to take up tertiary education has returned promising results.

More than 740 students have already joined USQ after studying at Tafe’s throughout Australia.

It is a 121 percent increase in 2011 and early results indicate an even stronger result for 2012.

The Queensland Tertiary Education Network, established in 2011 is the second initiative of the university, designed to strengthen the connection between industry, the higher education sector and the vocational education and training sector.

QTEPNet project manager Di Paez said the increase in numbers indicated students were taking advantage of new seamless pathways into a university degree from Tafe programs.

“There have been a number of opportunities opened up for prospective students,” Ms Paez said.

“Many Tafe’s now offer dual awards with USQ with the benefit of being able to jointly market courses that give seamless transition into degree programs and expand on the number of articulation pathways that are already in place.”

Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) student Clare Anthony took advantage of the Tafe pathway by completing a Diploma of Events Management at the Bremer Institute of Tafe before beginning her degree.

“On completion, I was able to gain direct entry into a USQ business degree without having to reapply and it took one year off my three year degree,” Ms Anthony said.

“I decided to take this route as I wasn’t certain my OP would make the cut off to go directly into university.

“This way I still only had to complete a three year program, but I have a diploma as well as my degree.

“The Tafe to uni option really suited my situation and worked for me. USQ were extremely supportive and I think it is one of the best pathways to university I know of.

“There is no time wasting and you receive the credit you deserve for the hard work you already put in. If I can do it, than anyone can.”

Now in her final year of study, Ms Anthony said she planned to work as an accountant and continue studying to become a Chartered Accountant.

Source: The Chronicle 23rd August 2012

June 1, 2012

The Australian education system has earned a reputation of being one of the most sought after curricula in the world. In June last year, more than 15,000 Malaysian international students were living in Australia.

In 2010, 73 countries took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing, an internationally standardised assessment for 15-year-olds, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Australia was placed in the top 10, out-performing most of the large English speaking countries. Seven of Australia’s universities are ranked in the top 100 worldwide.

Considering the above and the popularity of the Australian education in Malaysia, it is undoubted that the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) has earned an outstanding reputation through its rich and rigorous educational programmes, stimulating learning environments, international and multicultural perspectives and highly qualified and experienced Australian-trained staff.

AISM is a vibrant and growing Kindergarten to Year 12 international school for children from age 3 (Preparation) to age 18 (Year 12). Established in 2000, AISM is the only international school in Malaysia offering an Australian curriculum, delivered by Australian teachers and following the Australian school year.

AISM houses all three of its schools, Junior, Middle and Senior, on one campus and has about 560 students represented by more than 30 nationalities. The school offers a rigorous academic programme leading to the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Whilst great emphasis is placed on academic excellence, the physical, emotional and social dimensions of growth are seen as crucial elements of the school’s teaching and reflect the Australian education philosophy of developing the whole child.

“AISM is certainly a pathway to international excellence. Our students have successfully entered institutions in Australia, the UK, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, as well as many European countries,” says David Kilpatrick, the school’s principal. “In fact, one of our Year 12 students has received a full scholarship to study in the UK and will be applying to the University of Oxford.”

AISM recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Principals of Australian International Schools from all over the world. The meeting was attended by principals from other eight countries — United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh — who have become the Founding Members of the Australian International Schools Association (AISA). The forming of this association brings together more than 10,000 students who are studying the Australian curriculum throughout the world.

With the formation of AISA, the principals have formalised different means of collaboration between the Australian International Schools that will provide more diverse opportunities for their students to be involved in competition and collaborative events between the schools, explains Kilpatrick.

With the aim of providing the best of Australian education for all in Malaysia, AISM has also invested heavily in creating a truly 21st century, student-centred learning environment. Its recent major development and expansion project will accommodate classrooms and open learning spaces for the school’s Junior students (aged three to 10 years), extensive performing arts facilities (including a Black Box Theatre, instrument practice, orchestral and dance rooms), excellent ICT facilities, a science and technology centre, a new learning resource centre (library) and a dedicated space for Senior students in their final years of study (Year 11 and 12).

Source: New Straits Times (www.nst.com.my )

April 9, 2012

Australia is the land of work, skill and education for the international students. Many foreign students prefer to live and study abroad in Australia. Australia offers a high quality practical educational environment for international or foreign students to obtain skills and qualifications in any of the related areas in the field of engineering and technology.

International students can enrol in Information Technology, Civil, Software /Hardware, Manufacturing, Multimedia, Automobile, Mechanical, Aeronautical/ Aerospace, Applied Physics, Architectural, Chemical and Environmental Engineering courses. Many technical and engineering colleges in Australia offer technical and further Education (TAFE) programs, university degrees and postgraduate degree courses to students in different engineering disciplines.

Australia educational consultants provide useful information to foreign and international students and also guide them to choose right kind of engineering course from best college and university.Australia educational consultants also guide international students to get admission in the college located at a city university in one of the state capitals or choose a best university located in one of the main regional centres throughout Australia.

Australia provides multicultural and excellent study environment for students to study and so that they feel comfortable to mix in a diverse and tolerant environment. Australian education counselling provides the information of many engineering colleges in Australia. It also offers the international student a wide range of choices of place to study, strength and size of engineering college and educational approach of the engineering institute.

Apart from Study, the technical and engineering colleges in Australia also allows international students to participate in most important research and development activities. Australian education counselling has also running various educational programs in which the students can interact more closely with industry people so that they know how to deal with real-world engineering?

Engineers educated from Australian universities can be found working all over in today’s worldwide community. For example South and East Asia where large numbers of engineers and technical people who have studied from various Australian Universities, Colleges and Institutes will be found at very senior positions in different software, mechanical and chemical industries, or in government sectors, with few of them have their own well established businesses.

If we compared globally, Australia has more engineering graduates and post graduate people per million than the UK, France Germany, USA, Sweden and India. Many universities offer postgraduate degree courses to study abroad in Australia in areas of engineering.

Summary: Australia offers a high quality practical educational environment for international or foreign students to obtain skills and qualifications in any of the related areas in the field of engineering and technology like Information Technology, Civil, Software /Hardware, Manufacturing, Multimedia, Automobile, Mechanical engineering fields to get better career and high senior positions.

 

Source: goodarticles.in April 5th, 2012

April 4, 2012

 

A NEW website will let students compare universities on different criteria and the Government already is planning its expansion.

The  MyUniversity site launched in Canberra today gives information such as offered courses, student-to-staff ratios, fees, student satisfaction, and access to student services and campus facilities.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said the Government was already working on expanding and refining the information available to include employment outcomes and better data on student experiences.

The site soon will include more information about what potential employers are looking for.

Providing connections would ensure a broad education as well as training for the jobs emerging in the economy,” Senator Evans said.

 

“So they can get the full picture not only of the experience at university but also what that means for their employment prospects,” he said at a high school in Canberra.

Much of the information on the MyUniversity site has been available already but Senator Evans said a student had to be “very determined” to find it all.

Year 12 student Briana Duck said her first look at the website had been very helpful.

“It gives heaps of statistics and you can compare the information you want,” the Canberra student said.

“Where they are, how many students go and complete it (their course) and get jobs further on.”

Briana is hoping to study forensics and said the website let her find which universities offered the course, how long each degree took and how many students studied it.

Senator Evans said each university vetted information before it appeared on the site to ensure accuracy.

There had been some sensitivity, particularly about releasing staff-to-student ratios, but the minister said these were important issues to students.

“If students start making choices around those issues and that affects enrolments, I’m sure you’ll find universities responding,” he said.

Briana said it was something she would consider in choosing where to study.

“You want to know how much attention you’re going to get and how many places there are,” she said.

The website has been well received by universities and tertiary students, but both said there was more work to do.

Universities Australia, the sector’s peak body, said prospective students must be able to have confidence in the information’s accuracy.

“Getting it right is also essential for the reputation of universities operating in an increasingly competitive market brought on by the demand-driven enrolment system,” chief executive Belinda Robinson said.

“We don’t believe the MyUniversity website is there yet, particularly in relation to attrition rates, staff-student ratios, the entry score cut-off search function, course mapping and searchability.”

The National Union of Students said the right kind of information was being provided but more detail was needed.

“Students have a right to know whether they will be enrolling at a campus with a culture of student-run student life and student services,” president Donherra Walmsley said.

“We believe it is essential that this information be included in the next iteration of the MyUniversity website.”

Ultimately students would benefit because universities would no longer be able to hide behind their brand.

 

Source: AAP April 03, 2012

March 23, 2012

 

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced key changes to the student visa program recommended by the Knight Review will commence from 24 March, as part of the government’s commitment to position Australia as a preferred study destination for international students.

‘International education plays a vital role in a growing economy, educational outcomes and Australia’s diplomatic engagement with other countries, so it’s important that we give it the best possible support,’ Mr Bowen said.

‘From 24 March, we are implementing streamlined visa processing arrangements for prospective students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degrees at participating universities, making the application process simpler and faster.’

In recognition of these institutions’ track record, university students — regardless of their country of origin — will be treated as though they are lower risk and will need to submit less evidence in support of their visa application, similar to the current assessment level (AL) 1.

‘Universities in Australia have embraced the opportunity to sign up to the arrangements, which are expected to help boost international enrolments for semester two 2012 and beyond,’ Mr Bowen said.

From 26 March, the government will provide more flexible work conditions for all student visa holders, which will also provide more flexibility for their employers.

In recognition of the importance of the higher degree by research sector, the government will also allow postgraduate research (subclass 574) visa holders to work an unlimited amount of hours per week once their course has commenced, which will mean they can engage in employment related to their research.

Other Knight Review changes to be implemented from 24 March include:

Improved access to English language study for schools sector visa applicants and for student guardian visa holders

Removal of the requirement for higher risk schools sector visa applicants to provide evidence of an English language proficiency test.

In line with the Knight Review recommendations, the minister today introduced legislation to Parliament to abolish the automatic visa cancellation process for international students.

The Student Legislation Amendment (Student Visas) Bill will reduce complexity and uncertainty for students and provide for fairer, more efficient monitoring and compliance processes.

 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

March 20, 2012
March 20, 2012

NORTH Coast TAFE has welcomed a Federal Government proposal that would give TAFE students the chance to defer their course fees interest-free in a HECS-style system.

Under the Skills Plan proposal the government would abolish upfront fees for students in vocational education and training (VET) and provide a National Training Entitlement that would give every Australian a guaranteed place in training up to their first Certificate III.

The reforms are expected to cost the government $1.75 billion.

Federal MP Justine Elliot has applauded the announcement saying it will give Tweed residents without a post-school qualification the chance to up-skill and earn more money.

“No longer will local people be locked out of a higher qualification simply because they can’t pay the fees upfront,” Mrs Elliot said.

“Opening up a HECS-style system will put those wanting to undertake vocational education and training on a level footing with university students for the first time.”

The offer is particularly appealing to rural and regional North Coast TAFE students who rely on completing a TAFE course before moving to metropolitan universities or starting distance education.

Institute director Elizabeth McGregor is looking forward to more discussion of the proposal at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) next month.

“COAG has previously set a target of doubling by 2020 the number of people completing higher level VET qualifications,” Ms McGregor said.

“We in North Coast TAFE welcome the thrust of these proposals as they recognise that the capabilities developed through undertaking TAFE diplomas or advanced diploma are equally important to our nation’s productivity as university qualifications, and that students studying them are equally deserving of financial assistance.

“Apart from providing industry recognised, job-ready skills, a higher level TAFE course also gives a significant head start towards a university degree.

“Workers with a TAFE certificate or diploma could earn up to $10,000 a year extra or $400,000 more over their working lifetime.”

The Skills Plan will also see the release of a new My Skills website later this year which will allow students to compare courses, fees, providers and the quality of training on offer.

 

Source: mydailynews.com.au Rebecca Masters | 20th March 2012

March 9, 2012

 

INTERNATIONAL students comprise over a quarter of onshore enrolments at half of the Group of Eight, while one in three students at highly ranked Macquarie University is from overseas, a new Australian Education International report has found.

The AEI snapshot suggests Australia’s elite universities are heavily reliant on fragile overseas markets, with international students representing around 27 per cent of enrolments at Melbourne, ANU, UNSW and Adelaide.

The DEEWR-sourced data shows that the proportion of international students at all Go8 institutions apart from the University of Western Australia is above the national average of 22.3 per cent.

But international education researcher Alan Olsen said this was a reasonable average, and it was no surprise Go8 institutions were above it.

“An aggregate 22.3 per cent is appropriate for Australia, where 22.2 per cent of us were born overseas and 21.5 per cent speak a language other than English at home,” Mr Olsen said.

Mr Olsen said only around 8 per cent of people in the UK were born overseas, and about 12 per cent in the US.

A separate AEI report last month found that Australia’s proportion of international tertiary enrolments was more than three times the OECD average of 6.7 per cent, and six times the US average of 3.4 per cent.

But it found international students in the US were concentrated in about 25 highly ranked institutions, with two – Columbia and the University of Southern California – experiencing international proportions above the Australian average.

The international proportion of enrolments was 22.1 per cent at Stanford, 20 per cent at Cornell, 19.9 per cent at Georgia Institute of Technology and 18.4 per cent at Harvard, it added.

But these figures pale compared to some Australian universities, with the dual-sector University of Ballarat leading the pack at 47.7 per cent, followed by private Bond University at 40.5 per cent.

Ballarat has about 5600 domestic students and 5100 international students, according to the new AEI figures.

But Ballarat vice-chancellor David Battersby said the figures were “disingenuous” because they didn’t differentiate between dual-sector and standalone universities.

“They create a false impression about what a dual-sector university is, suggesting some sort of line in the sand between our higher education and VET students,” he said.

“That’s not the case – we have integrated schools. Why would they want to make the dual-sectors invisible in all this?”

Professor Battersby said Ballarat had a total of about 17,000 domestic students and an international proportion of about 22 per cent.

The AEI figures reveal above average international proportions at the other three Victorian dual-sectors – 32.8 per cent at Swinburne, 29.3 per cent at RMIT and 23.8 per cent at VU.

A DEEWR spokesperson said AEI had used information supplied by universities. “This ensures comparable data for all institutions,” he said.

“The table compares onshore international and domestic higher education students. [No] VET students were included for any university.”

Professor Battersby said most of Ballarat’s international students were with longstanding partners.

“While there has been a decline in our overall number of international students, our partner provider model has proven to be resilient,” he said.

Meanwhile, draft legislation for the tuition protection service – the new consumer protection facility for overseas students recommended by the Baird review – suggests universities will be required to sign up.

Universities and TAFEs have been exempted from paying fees to the existing ESOS Assurance Fund, and universities had lobbied for the arrangement to continue.

But Professor Battersby said the TPS needed to be seen as part of “a big package of arrangements” for international students including the Knight Review student visa reforms as well as changes stemming from the Baird Review.

Source : Australian

March 9, 2012

 

THE Federal Government is likely to shift its focus for university funding to completions rather than enrolments in its response to a base funding review.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans says the sector already knows he wants to make this shift.

He believes it will help keep quality high in the new era of demand-driven government funding for undergraduate places that began this year.

The Group of Eight, which represents Australia’s eight top research universities, has released a policy paper that says offering more places meant more students who were not well academically prepared would enter higher education.

There was clear evidence that students with lower entrance scores were more likely to drop out of university courses before finishing.

Senator Evans said the notion that opening up access would result in lower quality university education was insulting to universities and insulting to students.

But he agreed there would need to be more support for those students.

“We will have to put greater emphasis on transitional support for some of those students to focus on teaching and learning,” he said at a Universities Australia conference in Canberra on Wednesday.

“I’m looking to refocus funding on completions rather than just commencement to make sure the signals to the sector are strong that the purpose of these reforms is to produce graduates not to produce enrolments.

“If we take the right policy measures to support students we’ll get strong completion rates and we’ll get people who never otherwise would have had the chance going to university.”

The tight fiscal environment prevented him from promising more money for preparatory or transition courses.

But he said many universities already were doing good work in that area and he promised to give it priority in the coming year.

“We can grow and access equity without losing a strong focus on excellence,” Senator Evans said.

“These are not contradictory or mutually-exclusive goals.”

The Government released the independent base funding review in December. It will respond in the next couple of months.

Source:  AAP March 07, 2012

February 16, 2012

The changes are in response to the immigration department’s 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings.

INTERNATIONAL students will more easily be able to apply for visas following changes announced by Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Chris Bowen.

The changes, welcomed by the higher education sector, mean the number of assessment levels across a range of student visa subclasses will be reduced, making the visa application process easier for students from 29 countries.

The changes, which will take effect from March 24, are in response to the immigration department’s 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings.

“While it was recommended that some assessment levels be increased, I have decided to only implement the reductions in order to best support Australia’s international education sector,” Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen said the changes would help around 10,500 prospective students.

“These changes will particularly benefit the postgraduate research sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students and vocational education and training providers.”

For example, South Koreans studying VET and ELICOS courses and postgraduate research students from China, India and Indonesia will now find it easier to apply for visas, Mr Bowen said.

Universities Australia welcomed the changes to the student visa system as “a terrific outcome”.

“It really is a terrific outcome not just for the higher education sector but for the Australian economy more broadly because at a time we’re seeing manufacturing struggling, tourism struggling, both primarily because of the strong Australian dollar, it’s really important for those industries that are strong to be able to step up to offset some of those economic implications,” said Universities Australia chief executive, Belinda Robinson.

“The international education sector is Australia’s third largest export industry, and over the 2010-11 period international higher education students spent an average of $38,000 each in this country on goods, services and fees.

“And as well the stronger our international education industry is, the more affordable education is for Australian students.”

Meanwhile a new report released by ranking provider QS (Quacquarelli Symonds Limited) found Australian cities are among the most attractive study destinations in the world.

Using scores that take into account student mix, affordability, quality of living and employer activity, as well as their own QS World University Rankings, the company compiled a top fifty list of the ”best student cities”.

Ms Robinson said that according to QS, Australia had more cities than any other country in the world listed in the top 50, making it one of the world’s most favourable study environments.

If “affordability” was removed as a criterion, Melbourne and Sydney would be ranked at number 1 and 4 respectively.

“While it may be a little more expensive to live and study in Australia, the quality of living, employment opportunities, student mix and the quality of universities makes Australia a very appealing place for those seeking to study abroad,” Ms Robinson said.

Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au 16 February 2012

February 15, 2012
February 15, 2012


1                     The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, today announced the Government will make the visa application process easier for students from 29 countries by reducing assessment levels across a range of student visa subclasses from 24 March.

The changes are in response to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s (DIAC) 2011 review of student visa assessment level settings, which recommended that a number of assessment levels be changed. 

“While it was recommended that some assessment levels be increased, I have decided to only implement the reductions in order to best support Australia’s international education sector,” Mr Bowen said.

“Lowering the minimum evidentiary requirement for the grant of a student visa for selected countries and visa subclasses is expected to help around 10,500 prospective students.

“These changes will particularly benefit the postgraduate research sector, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and vocational education and training (VET) providers.”

For example, South Koreans studying VET and ELICOS courses and postgraduate research students from China, India and Indonesia will now find it easier to apply for visas.

“The reduction in assessment levels builds on the measures implemented as a result of the Strategic Review of the Student Visa Program, undertaken by the Hon Michael Knight AO, to ensure Australia remains an attractive study option for overseas students,” Mr Bowen said. 

Assessment levels are an important tool in managing the student visa program, as they ensure the efficient delivery of services to a diverse range of students while supporting the integrity of Australia’s immigration program.

Assessment levels align visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by students from every country and in each education sector. They are regularly reviewed and amended to accurately reflect the risk posed by a student cohort.

Those countries and sectors that were recommended to be subject to an increase in assessment levels will be placed on notice and reviewed as part of any future reforms to the risk management framework. 

More information on the reductions to student visa assessment levels can be found at www.immi.gov.au/students/student-visa-assessment-levels.htm

2                     Reduction of Certain Student Visa Assessment Levels

Reductions in Student visa assessment levels for 29 countries for certain Student visa subclasses was announced by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on 15 February 2012. These reductions will take effect on 24 March 2012.

These changes will lower the minimum evidentiary requirements needed for the grant of a Student visa for certain countries and education sectors.

The following is a list of countries and Student visa subclasses affected by the assessment level decreases which will take effect on 24 March 2012.

Country of Citizenship

Education Sector

Updated Assessment Levels

Belize

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Bhutan

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Botswana

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Botswana

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Bulgaria

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

China, Peoples Republic of

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Ecuador

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Egypt

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

India

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Indonesia

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Indonesia

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Jordan

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Kazakhstan

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Kazakhstan

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Korea, South

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL1

Korea, South

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Latvia

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Lebanon

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Lebanon

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Lebanon

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL3

Maldives

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Maldives

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Maldives

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Mauritius

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Mexico

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 57
2 – VET

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Montenegro, Republic of

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Namibia

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Nepal

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Nicaragua

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Nicaragua

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Philippines

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Reunion

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Reunion

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

Seychelles

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL1

Suriname

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Suriname

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Tanzania

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Tanzania

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Turkey

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Turkey

Subclass 572 – VET

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 570 – ELICOS

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 571 – Schools

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 573 – Higher Ed

AL2

Ukraine

Subclass 574 – Post Grad Research

AL1

Ukraine

Subclass 575 – Non–Award

AL2

Venezuela

Subclass 572 – VET

AL1

3                     Frequently asked Questions

4 Q: I am an international student studying in Australia. Do these changes affect me?

A: These changes will only affect new Student visa applications made on or after 24 March 2012.

5 Q: What does a reduction of assessment levels mean to Student visa applicants?

A: Students affected by the changes will be required to provide less documentary evidence to support their claims for the grant of a Student visa. These may include evidence of English language proficiency, financial capacity and academic qualifications.

6 Q: Where can I find out more information about assessment levels?

A: Further information on assessment levels including a full list of current assessment levels is available on the department’s website.
See: Student Visa Assessment Levels

 

November 19, 2011

 

NSW AND Victoria will come under renewed pressure to provide transport concessions to international students following an upgrade to the Study in Australia portal next year.

The federal government said all states and territories would be required to upload information on their services onto the Austrade-managed portal, “to ensure students make informed decisions about where to study”.

“International students will be able to search and compare government services on the Study in Australia portal, including comparative information on transport concessions available to international students, in 2012.”

The updates are required under last year’s International Students Strategy for Australia, the government said.

NSW and Victoria don’t currently provide concessions to the bulk of their international students, unlike the other states and territories.

The federal government said it supported last month’s agreement by state and territory community and disability services ministers to consider reciprocal recognition of student concessions.

It said it had also exerted pressure on NSW and Victoria over the issue in 2008 and again last month.

“The government will continue to make representations to NSW and Victoria on this matter,” it said, in a belated response to a Senate references committee inquiry into international student welfare.

The report by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee issued 16 recommendations, including two on public transport.

There were also five recommendations on information for international students, three on work rights, three on regulation and one each on agents, visa processing and medical internships.

The government said it supported three quarters of the recommendations and had already begun work to address them, implementing some in full. But it’s had plenty of time to do so, given that the report was released in November 2009.

It cited the Study in Australia portal in its response to six of the recommendations.

But the portal won’t fully meet the expectations of the committee, which said some information should be available in hard copy form and provided prior to students’ arrival in Australia.

 

Source: Portal pressure on concessions

BY: JOHN ROSS From: The Australian November 19, 2011

October 13, 2011

 

Students at Australia’s universities will have access to better quality services and amenities when they return to campus next year, following the passage of the Higher Education Support Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans said the Bill signalled a long overdue boost for student services, and a big win for regional universities which have been among the strongest advocates for change.

“This legislation will assist universities in rebuilding vital student services and amenities to ensure that they can support their growing student populations,” Senator Evans said.

“From next year, countless campus services which were stripped of funding under the former Coalition Government will start to be rebuilt.

“Students will benefit from improved access to a range of campus services, including sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services.

“The Coalition’s neglect of student services hit regional campuses particularly hard, with many student facilities at regional campuses forced to close down.”

A key feature of the new arrangements is that students can benefit from better student services while they are at university but defer payment of the fee through the HECS system until they are earning a decent income.

“Students have a clear interest in how their fees are being spent. Universities will be required to consult with students on the specific uses of the proceeds from any services and amenities fees,” Senator Evans said.

Under the new legislation, higher education institutions can charge a fee of up to $263 per student in 2012. No student will be forced to join any student organisation and the Bill expressly prohibits fee revenue being used to support a political party.

The student services and amenities fee will provide universities with more than $250 million over four years for much needed student amenities and services.

October 3, 2011

 

Australia’s 39 universities are preparing for a brand new day in 2012: not only will government quotas on the number of local students they enrol be lifted, but they will also be able to recruit as many foreigners as they wish as a result of a new fast-track visa system.

In an unexpectedly generous move that surprised even sceptical vice-chancellors, the federal government decided to lift most restrictions on the issuing of student visas to overseas students applying for a university place, opening the way for a likely flood of new applications from China, India, Pakistan and other Asian countries.

Universities that agree to meet certain requirements regarding the students they admit will also have access to a new streamlined system that will speed up visa processing.

The government’s imposition of tighter visa rules two years ago was a reaction to dodgy college operators using vocational education courses as a front for their clients to obtain permanent residency visas. As tens of thousands of students enrolled in cooking and hairdressing courses in the hope of staying on after completion, a debate began to rage about Australia allowing relatively unskilled migrants with poor English into the country.

The stricter visa rules also applied to applicants seeking university places while, at the same time, the Australian dollar began rising sharply against the US dollar. These changes made obtaining a visa to study here harder and more expensive than in Canada or the US; and as the number of full-fee international students fell sharply, universities suddenly found a significant source of non-government income drying up.

In 2009, the estimated economic benefit to Australia of having nearly 500,000 fee-paying foreign students enrolled in schools, colleges and universities was AUD18 billion (US$18 billion); two years later this had fallen by AUD2 billion.

As vice-chancellor protests became louder, the government appointed a former New South Wales Labor government minister, Michael Knight, to review the situation.

In a 150-page report just released, Knight proposed a series of changes he claimed would boost the competitiveness of Australian universities in the global student marketplace. Although his 41 recommendations apply mostly to universities, the changes effectively give vice-chancellors almost total freedom to recruit as many foreign students as they want.

To the surprise of every higher education lobby group, the government accepted all the recommendations and promised to implement them before the start of second semester next year.

Among the changes expected to improve the attractiveness of Australian higher education is the scrapping of a rule requiring foreign students to prove they have enough money saved to allow them to study in the country for two years.

A student from China, by far Australia’s biggest source of international students, at present must have access to at least AUD100,000 to obtain a visa. From mid-2012, however, students will only need to declare they can afford to pay tuition and living costs. As well, those who graduate with at least a bachelor degree from a university will be able to stay on and work for up to four years and will not be tied to any particular occupation.

“All applicants will still be subject to basic requirements such as having health insurance and not being a security or health risk. And the Department of Immigration will reserve the right to look separately at applications from any group that poses a particular concern,” Knight says in his report.

“However, beyond those basic requirements, [the Department] will effectively take the university’s word that the student is suitable. Therefore universities can be confident their students will have their applications processed quickly.”

But Knight warns that “these substantial benefits” come with significant obligations: universities will be accountable for the visa outcomes of their students. If these outcomes are consistently poor, the university will be removed from the streamlined processing arrangements and prospective students will be processed under the existing rules.

Despite universities being subject to government “checks and balances and integrity measures” before gaining access to the new streamlined visa procedures, critics say the changes will open the doors to a new wave of foreign student workers who, after graduating, will compete with Australians for jobs and add to the thousands already seeking to stay on a permanent residents.

Monash University social scientist and demographer Dr Bob Birrell said past experience showed that thousands of students from poorer families who could not meet the costs of fees and living expenses were now likely to apply for university. Birrell, founder of Monash’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, said the result would be a significant influx of students seeking through a university education to gain access to the Australian labour market.

“We have had repeated examples of this in the past, starting with the English language college debacle of the late 1980s and more recently the vocational college debacle over cooks and hairdressers,” he said. “I’m amazed the Immigration Department has gone along with this because they know what happened in the past.”

Another critic, Peter Holden, said Knight’s decision to confine the changes to universities was against federal government policy, which wanted an integrated tertiary sector with a single regulatory body. “His old-school approach reinforces outdated stereotypes and elitist views of post-secondary education,” Holden said.

“Knight’s reasoning is that if things go off the rails it will be easier for the Department of Immigration to rein in universities because there are only 39 of them. This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of high quality and low risk. As Knight admits, universities are not perfect.”

Holden is director of international engagement for TAFE Directors Australia, the heads of the country’s public technical and further education colleges. Writing in The Australian newspaper’s higher education section, he said one in five students in Australia’s universities was from overseas – among the highest ratios in the world.

“For the whole public vocational education sector, including all qualification levels, the ratio is less than one in 27. In terms of stability, TAFE institutes are equally well-managed with high levels of accountability and transparency.

“The Knight review perpetuates the flawed impression the problem lies within the vocational education and training sector, as though it can be treated as one amorphous whole.”

Source: Geoff Maslen / 02 October 2011 / Issue: 191  /university world news

 

September 29, 2011

 

September 2011

International Education Agency-Australia, one of the largest education agent of Australia has welcomed the Government’s response to the Knight review into the student visa program, in particular steps to remove barriers for genuine higher education students to study in Australia.

The Australian federal government commissioned the Knight Review into the student visa program in Dec 2010 to investigate ways to make Australia more competitive whilst maintaining the integrity of the migration system and the quality of its education system.

This followed a steady downturn of international students choosing to study in Australia after changes to visa and migration policy in early 2010.

In June Michael Knight handed his report to the Government and on 22 September the Government, Senator Evans, Minister for Education, and Minister Bowen, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, released the report with the statement that they were accepting all 41 of Knight’s recommendations.

A number of significant changes are outlined below.

Changes to student visa eligibility and processing:

  • That all higher education students applying to study a bachelor degree or higher at a university or a packaged course, regardless of country of origin, will be treated as a student from an AL1 country. This means a change to a declaration of proof of funds and in many countries the ability to apply via the eVisa system which should significantly reduce the time taken to secure a student visa. English language courses and other preparatory course will also be included in this streamlined process.
  • Allowing English language students to apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English language skills requirements; and
  • The policy of Pre¬Visa Assessment will be discontinued.
  • That student visas be allowed to be granted in advance of four months before the commencement of the relevant course. Where necessary visas should specify a date before which the holder cannot enter Australia.

Changes to student work rights:

  • An enhanced post study work visa regime for international university graduates, particularly withdrawing skills assessment and the requirement to work in any particular occupation.
  • In addition the term of the post study work visa will increase from 18 to 24 months for undergraduates degrees, up to three years for Masters and four years for PhD.
  • That student work entitlements be measured as 40 hours per fortnight instead of 20 hours per week

Changes to be made regarding Agents:

  • That the necessary legislative changes be made to require the name of any agent involved to be entered into the student’s data into PRISMS.
  • That DEEWR take steps to encourage providers to voluntarily enter agent data into PRISMS in the interim before the ESOS Act is changed to make this mandatory.
  • That DIAC upgrade its liaison at overseas posts with migration and education agents in relation to the student visa program, including regular meetings to keep agents abreast of any changes in rules and procedures.

Changes to visa compliance and enforcement:

  • The mandatory cancellation requirement for unsatisfactory attendance, unsatisfactory progress and working in excess of the hours allowed should be removed, giving DIAC officers the discretion to determine cancellation in particular cases on their merits.
  • DIAC should concentrate its compliance and integrity resources in relation to student visas on the highest risk areas.
  • Automatic cancellation of student visas should be abolished and replaced by a system in which information conveyed by SCVs is used as an input into a more targeted and strategic analysis of non‐compliance.

The full list of 41 recommendations has been provided below.

One of the most significant changes is that the onus on judging student visa eligibility has been passed to universities and their partners, who will need to ensure that standards are maintained otherwise the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) reserves the right to strip institutions of their ability to streamline visa processing.

Other education providers such as Vocation Education institutions have not yet been granted the ability to streamline their visa processing like the universities but the government has highlighted plans to widen this option based on a provider risk assessment.

In accepting Knight’s recommendations the Australian government has also indicated that it plans to review the current Assessment Level system and take further steps to improve the current risk management framework.

The implementation timeframe for many of these changes is not yet established but the government has committed to having most changes operational by the commencement of the second semester in 2012.

 

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

That a new element be introduced into the eligibility criteria for a student visa. That new criterion will be to assess whether the applicant is a genuine temporary entrant. This new criterion should be the first to be considered in assessing any application for a student visa.

Recommendation 2

A successful applicant must be both a genuine temporary entrant and a genuine student.

Recommendation 3 – streamlined visa processing for universities

3.1 That all students in the categories set out below, irrespective of their country of origin

– but subject to the provisions in 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 should be treated as though they are all AL1.

 

3.2 This treatment should apply to the following university student applicants:

  • Bachelor Degree;
  • 2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities;
  • Masters Degree by Coursework.

3.3 The special treatment should not apply to:

  • short courses;
  • Associate Degree;
  • Graduate diploma;
  • Graduate certificate;
  • Diploma and Advanced Diploma;
  • non‐award courses (except as provided for in Recommendation 18);
  • the non‐university courses at the six universities which are dual sector (VET and university).

3.4 The benefits should also apply to courses which are explicitly packaged with an eligible university course at the time when the offer of university enrolment is made. This might include English language (ELICOS) and/or foundation or pathway courses in circumstances where non compliance by the student at any part of the package would be regarded as non‐compliance with the university enrolment.

3.5 The government should continue to require appropriate health checks, health insurance, character (predominantly criminal record/connections) and security checks.

3.6 The underlying DIAC powers in regard to every individual student application should continue to exist.

3.7 The government should also reserve the right to exclude certain high risk groups from the streamlined approach for university applicants. For example, the government might want to carefully assess all applicants from a persecuted minority group in a particular country. Applicants from such a group might have a huge incentive to apply for protection visas as soon as they reach Australia. The Australian Government may or may not wish to take such people on humanitarian grounds but that should be a separate decision and should not get mixed up with the process of granting visas for university students.

Recommendation 4 Post Study Work Rights

4.1 All graduates of an Australian university Bachelor degree, who have spent at least two academic years studying that degree in Australia, and who have complied with their visa conditions, should receive two years work rights.

4.2 All graduates of an Australian university Mast
ers by Coursework degree, who have studied that degree in Australia, and who have complied with their visa conditions, should receive two years work rights on successful completion of their course.

4.3 This should apply irrespective of the nature of the course (for example whether it be Arts or Engineering) and not be tied to working in any particular occupation.

4.4 The mechanism for taking up these work rights should be administratively very simple with the following components:

  • the university must notify that the course has been successfully completed. (This will be earlier than the formal graduation which could be many months after the course has been completed);
  • DIAC should not undertake any detailed, time consuming, assessment of the applicant;
  • the scheme must be one which can be marketed by the universities to prospective students as almost guaranteeing post study work rights.

Recommendation 5

That all Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students – visa subclass 574 ‐be treated as though they are all AL1 applicants.

Recommendation 6

That where any English language or other preparatory course is required by the Higher Degree by Research provider then the whole package still be treated as AL1.

Recommendation 7

That all Higher Degree by Research students be given unlimited work rights.

Recommendation 8

Masters by Research graduates should receive three years post‐study work rights and PhD graduates four years.

Recommendation 9

That the visa arrangements for Higher Degree by Research students be such that an extension for up to six months after submission of their thesis is available if needed during the interactive marking process.

Recommendation 10

That, provided the integrity measures relating to the revised criteria for a student visa are implemented (as set out in Recommendation 1), the threshold English language test requirements for stand alone ELICOS students be removed.

Recommendation 11

That the English language requirements for school students in AL4 be the same as those applying for AL1 through to AL3 and the associated waiver scheme abolished.

Recommendation 12

That the maximum period of time a school student visa holder can study English be 50 weeks across all ALs.

Recommendation 13

That the current restrictions on student guardians of a maximum of three months of study be maintained but unlimited part‐time study rights for ELICOS study only be allowed.

Recommendation 14

That pre‐paid homestay fees be included in financial assessments on the same basis as pre‐paid boarding fees.

Recommendation 15

That as a matter of some urgency AusAID, DIAC, DOHA and other relevant Australian government agencies develop an integrated policy in relation to the award of scholarships and how visa arrangements for awardees are to be managed. In particular they should address the situation of potential awardees who have a disability or HIV.

Recommendation 16

That PhD students entering under the subclass 576 visa have access to the same extension provisions recommended for Higher Degree by Research students in Recommendation 9, provided AusAID is prepared to fund their extended period.

Recommendation 17

That DIAC and DEEWR meet with State education authorities to work out what can be done to avoid the situation where a visa for a child dependent cannot be granted until proof of enrolment is present and state education authorities will not grant such proof until proof of visa grant is made. Any agreed remedy should apply across all student visa subclasses.

Recommendation 18

That students coming for semester or year¬long non‐award courses at an Australian university as part of their home universities degree and/or as part of an agreed student exchange between universities be given access to streamlined processing as outlined in Recommendation 3.

Recommendation 19

That DIAC undertake specific research targeted at integrity and compliance issues into student visa outcomes, including both primary and secondary applicants, to inform policy development.

Recommendation 20

That DIAC be appropriately funded to further develop research capability across the program.

Recommendation 21

That DIAC, to the extent permitted by legislation, co‐operate with its counterparts across all levels of government to facilitate information sharing, to inform evidence based decision making.

Recommendation 22

In the event that the research over the next 12 months reveals systemic abuse of dependant (secondary applicant) visas, that the government seriously consider mirroring the recent UK policy and restrict dependant visas to Masters and above courses unless the primary applicant is sponsored by a government.

Recommendation 23

Current arrangements whereby SCVs automatically become NCNs should cease. SCV information should continue to be conveyed to DIAC who should use it as an input into a more targeted and strategic analysis of non‐compliance.

Recommendation 24

Automatic cancellation of student visas should be abolished and replaced by a system in which information conveyed by SCVs is used as an input into a more targeted and strategic analysis of non‐compliance.

Recommendation 25

The mandatory cancellation requirement for unsatisfactory attendance, unsatisfactory progress and working in excess of the hours allowed should be removed, giving DIAC officers the discretion to determine cancellation in particular cases on their merits.

 

Recommendation 26

DIAC should concentrate its compliance and integrity resources in relation to student visas on the highest risk areas.

Recommendation 27

DIAC should not only respond to information generated by PRISMS but also be proactive in detecting the sorts of breaches (for example sham marriages and exceeding permissible work hours) which are not reported in PRISMS.

Recommendation 28

That student work entitlements be measured as 40 hours per fortnight instead of 20 hours per week

Recommendation 29

That the necessary legislative changes be made to require the name of any agent involved to be entered into the student’s data into PRISMS.

Recommendation 30

That DEEWR take steps to encourage providers to voluntarily enter agent data into PRISMS in the interim before the ESOS Act is changed to make this mandatory.

Recommendation 31

That DEEWR and DIAC establish a single student identifier to track international students through their studies in Australia.

Recommendation 32

That DIAC undertake a review of the AL framework, with a mind to either abolishing the system entirely or modifying the framework to make it relevant to current and future challenges facing the student visa program. This review should be managed by DIAC but should include reference to an external panel or reference group.

Recommendation 33

That DIAC upgrade its liaison at overseas posts with migration and education agents in relation to the student visa program, including regular meetings to keep agents abreast of any changes in rules and procedures.

Recommendation 34

That Austrade be asked to prepare a more detailed outlook document that provides effective business planning intelligence demonstrating the opportunities, for offshore provision of vo
cational education.

Recommendation 35

That the highest quality Australian VET providers including TAFEs, be encouraged to explore offshore market opportunities.

Recommendation 36

That the Australian Government, through programs such as the Export Market Development Grants Scheme and other forms of assistance, support high quality Australian vocational education providers in expanding their offshore training services.

Recommendation 37

That DIAC constitute an Education Visa Advisory Group as a primary means of regular two way communication between stakeholders in the international education sector and DIAC.

Recommendation 38

That the policy regarding Pre‐Visa Assessment (PVA) be discontinued.

Recommendation 39

That student visas be allowed to be granted in advance of four months before the commencement of the relevant course. Where necessary visas should specify a date before which the holder cannot enter Australia.

Recommendation 40

That DIAC regularly reviews the current living cost amount, and based on the CPI or other measure amend the amount, as required.

Recommendation 41

That DIAC review the exclusion criteria and policy which relate to student visa non‐compliance.

 

September 28, 2011

 

 

OVERSEAS AID: Visa rules and red tape is being eased to help more foreign students come to Australian universities.

AUSTRALIAN universities will be more attractive to overseas students under new visa rules to be adopted in time for the second semester of 2012, the government says.

The federal government announced on Thursday it will streamline visa processing for students enrolling in Australian universities.

Financial requirements for student visas will be eased, so applicants will need about $36,000 less in their bank account than they do now.

And new post-study work visas will allow students to remain in Australia for two to four years after their course ends, depending on their level of qualification.

But the student visa criteria will be tightened slightly so applicants will have to prove they are genuine students and genuine about returning home.

The changes follow a review of the student visa program led by former NSW government minister Michael Knight and the government has accepted all 41 of his recommendations.

“It’s not enough to be genuine about your studies and have no intention of going home, nor is it enough to be genuine about going home but not serious about your studies,” Mr Knight said.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said the changes would help Australian universities be more competitive in the international market.

“They have articulated for a long time that the visa processes are a barrier to attracting students in an increasingly competitive environment,” he told reporters.

Contrary to perceptions, international student numbers across the education sector had continued to grow in the past year, though providers expected 2012 to be tough.

That was partly because of the old visa system and factors such as the high Australian dollar.

But Senator Evans said the sector’s previous growth rate was unsustainable and could not continue.

“I think we had some of those problems with student welfare because the system had just grown too quickly,” he said.

“This will help put this sector on a very good footing to continue to grow.”

Australian institutions could now compete on the basis of their education offerings and not be hindered by any visa requirements.

Mr Knight said it was important to strike a balance between the economic benefits brought by international students and protecting the integrity of migration controls.

From: AAP September 23, 2011 12:00AM

September 28, 2011
September 28, 2011

 

UNIVERSITIES will be allowed to entice foreign students with quick visa approvals and the right to two years of work after graduation as part of a reform package to stem further losses of overseas student income.

 

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said yesterday they would act on a remarkably frank report on Australia’s education export industry by former NSW politician Michael Knight.

 

By mid next year, foreign students keen on an Australian university degree will have access to a new, fast-track visa system.

 

Students from supposedly high-risk countries, such as China, no longer will have to show $75,000-plus in a bank account to prove they can cover fees and living costs.

 

Regardless of where they are from, would-be students will simply have to make a declaration they can support themselves.

 

Onerous financial requirements have been bitterly criticised as an over-reaction to past failings when migration was the motor of education, especially in private colleges.

 

Under yesterday’s Knight reforms, which single out universities for special treatment, foreign graduates emerging with a bachelor’s degree will be entitled to two years of work with no restriction on the type of job.

 

But if they want to stay for good they still have to satisfy stricter rules for skilled migration, which are much less generous to on-shore foreign students with low value skills.

 

University leaders yesterday welcomed the liferaft thrown them by the government.

 

“The reforms announced are more positive than anyone we spoke to expected [and] they come when competitors are kicking own goals _ riots in the UK and US funding cuts,” said University of NSW vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer.

 

“We expect a moderate lift in 2012 and a significant lift in 2013.”

 

In New Delhi yesterday, Professor Hilmer said education agents had told him that a streamlined student visa system was “the key to restoring our competitive position”.

 

Violence against students and tighter rules for skilled migration drove Indian students away while the US and Canada were making inroads on the China market.

 

In 2010-11, Australia’s education export earnings fell by almost 10 per cent from their $18 billion peak. Sharp declines in numbers at English language colleges and tertiary preparation courses suggest that universities are heading into tough trading conditions next year.

 

The education export industry complains of “a perfect storm” _ meaning rapid and unsettling changes in visa rules and skilled migration policy, the strong dollar and more competition for students overseas, and lingering reputational damage done by attacks on Indian students.

 

Under the Knight reforms, broadly adopted by the government, students wanting to study for a bachelor’s or higher qualification at university will find it easier and quicker to get a visa, regardless what country they are from.

 

“Unfortunately the worst perceptions about visa processing times are in Australia’s biggest market, China,” Mr Knight said.

 

From next autumn, would-be university students would benefit from an end to the requirement that they show large amounts of money upfront as evidence of capacity to pay.

 

Also promised next year is a comprehensive review of the so-called risk assessment levels that immigration officials use to vet would-be students. This system makes it harder for students from China and India, for example, to get visas.

 

Mr Knight recommended a new work rights regime for foreign students who graduate from an Australian university.

 

He said this had to be “administratively very simple”.

 

“The scheme must be one which can be marketed by the universities to prospective students as almost guaranteeing post-study work rights,” he said.

 

Glenn Withers, chief executive of Universities Australia, said the work entitlement was “one of the biggest breakthroughs”.

 

“This [work right] is as good or better than the Canadian or the US provisions,” he said.

 

But Monash University researcher Bob Birrell said the labour market implications had not been thought through.

 

Locals already were competing with thousands of former overseas students who were on bridging visas following a reform of the skilled migration rules, he said.

 

Stephen Connelly, from the International Education Association Australia, welcomed the Knight reforms.

 

He praised the extension of the new streamlined visa rules to packages including university study with foundation programs or English language courses.

 

“Australia has world’s best practice in pathways and preparatory programs for university studies, and this aspect of the recommendations will help cement our competitive advantage in this area,” Mr Connelly said.

 

He urged rapid implementation of the reform package to try to reverse the downward trend in on-shore student numbers.

 

Mr Knight justified special measures to boost overseas student recruitment by universities, rather than by TAFEs or private colleges, on the basis that universities were of “universally high” quality.

 

He also cited the “huge financial stake” of taxpayers in a university sector that had become heavily dependent on fees paid by foreign students.

 

He expressed surprise at the degree of dependence, pointing out that in 2009, about 25 per cent of students at the elite group of eight universities were internationals.

 

Andrew Norton, higher education expert at the Grattan Institute, was troubled by the favouritism shown to universities.

 

“My concern is that this is a big blow to the private higher education sector and the TAFES … and that this will distort the market further,” he said.

 

He said public universities already enjoyed a privileged position in the demand-driven system starting next year.

 

Adrian McComb, from the Council of Private Higher Education, said the “university centric nature” of the Knight report was disappointing.

 

He said this ran counter to the unified system of regulation for higher education, public and private, under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

 

Mr Knight said universities were “not perfect”.

 

He put universities on notice that they would be held accountable for systematic migration abuses by their students or for lower standards.

 

“The financial dependence which universities now have on the fees from international students could create pressure to soften entry standards and assessment standards,” he said.

 

He said his freeing up of student visas would be “quite dangerous” unless immigration officers put new effort into checking that applicants were genuine temporary visitors as well as genuine students.

 

However, Dr Birrell said the guidelines for this new student visa test were “so opaque that it’s almost impossible to apply. I cannot see how [an immigration] officer could possibly implement them.”

 

BY: BERNARD LANE From: The Australian September 23, 2011 12:00AM