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The dark side of Australia's appeal as a world class education destination

The dark side of Australia's appeal as a world class education destination

News streams were flooded with the arrest of 3 individuals running a student visa and employment scam in Melbourne, Victoria. The individuals owned and managed a college, St Stephens Institute in Reservoir and an institute, Symbiosis Institute of Technical Education. The individuals worked with unscrupulous migration agents and applied student visas for applicants who paid up to AUD 10,000 for "enrolment" in the college or institute. There were no classes for students to attend but instead the students were arranged to work as posties or delivery personnel. The work was arranged via one of the individual's business which was a labour hire contractor for the Australian Post. The "students" were underpaid and received no benefits whatsoever but continued working as they were promised a work or residence visa at the end of their student visa.

Another institute that has come under scrutiny is TK Melbourne Education and Training College which allegedly has been issuing fake and back-dated certificates to international students. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has issued a “critical non-compliance” label to the institute for failing to meet with national Registered Training Organisation standards. If students used the fake qualifications to enrol in a separate higher learning course, or to apply for a skilled migration visa, the fake qualification may be overturned and the students will then be refused admission or a visa application.

Don’t get caught up in a scam!

While the government bodies involved – Australia Post, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the new Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) perform the necessary internal review to prevent such cases from repeating, Work Visa Lawyers would like to educate and remind international students, current or prospective to be fully aware of the objective and obligations of the student visa programme in Australia. Students involved in unlawful and unethical arrangements as above suffer financial loss as well as potentially a negative record on their Australia visa history, which may affect future Australia visa applications.

It is important for international students in Australia to check:

  • They are enrolled in the correct education course and institute
  • The obligations and conditions for the student visa held, such as work restrictions or education provider restrictions (e.g. streamlined education providers)
  • Actual study was conducted before the qualification is deemed complete before a certificate is issued

Student visa holders also need to know that there is no guarantee of a visa at the end of the study duration even though they may be promised so. Student visa holders should always check with the DIBP or other Registered Migration Agents if they suspect that something is amiss with their education courses or permitted employment.

Comments by Chris Johnston – Principal Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent at Work Visa Lawyers

The DIBP has the power to cancel a visa in a number of scenarios such as the ones listed below:

  • if an applicant has provided:
    • “a bogus document or information that is false and misleading in  material particular in relation to:
      1. the application for the visa; or
      2. a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made”

From Public Interest Criteria 4020

This includes the situation where the applicant did not knowingly provide the false or misleading information with their application.

  • if a visa holder violated the visa conditions and obligations (such as working when not allowed to)
  • if a visa holder has committed criminal offences that are harmful to the Australian society and its values. The recent focus on cancelling visas of convicted criminals (see our earlier news entry here) is one such example.

Work Visa Lawyers advises all Australian visa holders to:

  • Stay away from scams and criminal activities
  • Always be aware of your visa conditions and make sure you meet the visa obligations
  • Always check with a trusted authority such as the DIBP or Registered Migration Agents in Australia if there is something suspicious in relation to your student or work visa

This information is accurate on 7 August 2015




Do you need help with an Australian visa application?

At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications, including state sponsorship applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as Migration Review Tribunal, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.

If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:

(08) 7225 5091 or +61 8 7225 5091

or   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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