Study visa crackdown
MORE than 3000 international students have been booted out of Australia and a further 13,000 blocked from entering the country in an immigration fraud crackdown.
Lists of international students are reviewed every week to make sure the system is not rorted by foreigners wanting to work here. The review checks students not enrolled in a course who last studied more than two months ago but who have more than six months left on their visa.
It comes as the government prepares to overhaul the visa system as part of its new population policy, expected to be announced next month.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has singled out temporary visas, including student visas, for new restrictions to force foreigners into regional areas and small cities.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said the student visa program had to work in Australia’s national interest.
“The government will not tolerate fraud and misconduct by those seeking to study in Australia,” he said. “While international students are granted restricted work rights while in Australia, students found to be working in breach of these rights are liable to have their visa cancelled.”
Latest Department of Home Affairs figures show 3182 students had their visa cancelled while another 13,398 students had visas cancelled before they entered Australia.
Of the visas cancelled, 19 were blocked on character grounds, including perpetrators of assault and drug crime. Mr Coleman said the government was reviewing all visa programs.
“The student visa program is very positive for the Australian economy and any potential changes will be taken in consultation with the education sector, and with a view to ensuring that the program continues to work in the interest of all Australians,” he said.
Student visas can be for up to five years, but the government must be notified of changes to course enrolments.
Universities and other education providers also had to report when foreign students regularly failed to turn up to classes, were failing courses or not paying their fees.