Learning to get tough on visas
Thousands of foreign students kicked out
MORE than 3000 international students were booted from Australia and a further 13,000 blocked from entering amid a government crackdown on immigration fraud.
The Home Affairs Department reviews lists of international students each week to ensure the system is not being rorted by foreigners wanting work rights in Australia.
It checks up on students whose last recorded study was more than two months ago but they still have more than six months on their visa.
The government is preparing to overhaul the visa system as part of its new population policy, which is expected to be announced next month.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has singled out temporary visas, including student visas, for new restrictions that would force foreigners into regional areas and small cities.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said the student visa program must work in the nation’s interest.
“The government will not tolerate fraud and misconduct by those seeking to study in Australia,” he said. “International students seeking to study in Australia should be motivated by Australia’s world-class education system. While international students are granted restricted work rights while in Australia, students found to be working in breach of these work rights are liable to have their visa cancelled.”
Latest Home Affairs figures show 3182 students had their visa cancelled while they were in Australia, while a further 13,398 visas were cancelled while they were overseas. Among them, 19 visas were cancelled on character grounds which includes perpetrators of assault and drug crime.
At the end of June there were almost 487,000 student visa holders in Australia, with 23 per cent from China and 14 per cent from India. Mr Coleman said the government was undertaking a holistic review of all visa programs.
“The student visa program is very positive for the 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 any changes to course enrolments. Education providers were also required to report when foreign students were regularly truant, failing or not paying fees.