Saturday, August 22, 2009

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Australia to tighten visa rules for students

Faced with sharp increase in student visa applications, Australia is set to tighten its visa policy to ensure bonafide and genuine candidates come to the country for higher studies. The department of immigration and citizenship is strengthening checks on student visa applications to stamp out fraud and ensure that students have the financial capacity to live and study in Australia, an official statement said.

The measure is likely to affect the mobility of international students who come in the name of pursuing education but end up working as unskilled labourers. Minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Evans said applications for student visas grew 20% to 362,193 in 2008-09 while about 28,000 student visas were refused.

“While overall student visa compliance rates remain high, there are elements of concern within this large caseload,” the minister said in the statement. The measures will address the documents related fraud and other issues like identification of financial capacity. The measures include upgrading interview programme to check visa access through agents who are suspected of fraud or inactivity.

The minister said these measures are consistent with those used by other countries that receive large numbers of student visa applications, such as the US. “The message is clear: genuine international students remain welcome in Australia, but we will not tolerate fraud in the student visa programme,” the minister said.

There are about 97,000 Indian students pursuing studies in education in Australia. Many of them lack financial support and engage themselves in courses like hairdressing, cookery to go for part-time unskilled work in various units.


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