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Student visa fraud out of control but DIBP still refuses to act against unregistered education brokers

Student visa applications face greater scrutiny as cancellations due to fake documentation increase by three-fold. Overseas education brokers are being blamed for the threefold increase in the number of student visas cancelled by DIBP over the last two years for falsifying English test results and financial documentation. DIBP however is targeting students without announcing any measures to curb the fraudsters who may be encouraging and facilitating the applications.

The student visa is perhaps one of the easiest visas and quickest visas to obtain for a stay in Australia exceeding 12 months particularly under the streamlined visa processing program (SVP). However, the student visa advisory sector is also one of that is flooded with fraudsters acting as education broker who work unfettered and ungoverned by the professional code of conduct administered by the MARA. This is simply because DIBP  has not banned unregistered migration practice and still accepts applications from unregistered practitioners.

There is no requirement for such brokers who enrol students and arrange student visas to be registered by the MARA. Therefore there are no repercussions for flouting the law and even potentially misguiding students that all they are doing is ‘legitimate’. It is really up the prospective students to ask the question, "Show me your MARA registration papers" or search the MARA Register of Agents before they part with their money.

Figures obtained by The Australian show 7061 student visas were cancelled in the last financial year, with 4930 cancelled the previous year and 1978 cancellations in the 2012 financial year. In addition the Australian notes that a DIBP also identified about 1000 “course hopping” international students, who arrived on streamlined student visas but later transferred to unaccredited colleges - a practice that is illegal.

DIBP however has decided to target students in its efforts to sort out this mess. There is no indication that it intends to do anything about their unregistered brokers.

“Responding to a spike in “non-genuine” students, most commonly recruited by third-party broking services based offshore, the federal government has quietly stepped up a campaign to assist tertiary colleges in identifying real students” reports The Australian. DIBP however has not announced any action to deal with the third-party broking services.

Thomson Ch’ng, president of the Council of International Students Australia, told The Australian that on some occasions, agents would organise visas even though they knew students weren’t genuine because this was an easier avenue for entry.

Schools and universities are now paying more attention to the problem. Navitas chief executive Rod Jones told The Australian that the company had immediately applied risk-mitigation strategies, including the cancellation of some 40 agent partnerships, and was initiating in-country face to face interviews with students where required.

The Australian has identified a number of brokers in Nepal who have been blacklisted by local colleges, including the Kangaroo Education Foundation and Global Village International Education in Kathmandu, which advertises a 100 per cent visa success rate.

“Tougher screening has seen the number of student visas granted from India fall from 91 per cent of all applications in the third quarter of 2013 to 82 per cent for the corresponding last year while visas granted to Nepalese students fell five percentage points to 91 per cent,” reports The Australian.

The Migration Alliance, has been campaigning for several years to stop unregistered practice - the efforts include submissions to the the Reviewer of the OMARA and submissions to Senator Cash to Stop unregistered Practice. The Migration Alliance has also started a petition on Change.org which you are encouraged to sign, to get DIBP to stop unregistered practice once and for all.

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  • Guest
    Being punished for doing the right thing. When will this stop? Thursday, 22 January 2015

    Dear Migration Alliance,

    I do not do a lot of student visas. But the few that I have done my experience has been that Educational Institutions do not prefer to deal with us and kind of force students to use their off-shore education agents. Also the offshore DIBP post seem to prefer using these local agents as they deal with them on a daily basis. It is a shame but I feel we are being disadvantaged as Registered Agents following the Code where non-registered agents are being given the pass. I have even been told by a client as to why should they use us as compared to us the non registered agents are cheap (almost free) and plus they know people in there.

  • Guest
    Tulasi R Kafle Friday, 23 January 2015

    Could you please give us the details as to who blacklisted our company; when and for what reasons? The Australian has already been asked about the proof of what they have reported.

    We assume you know how a company gets blacklisted. By breaching any terms and conditions only a company gets blacklisted. May we know how we breached the terms of reference, and which authorities have blacklisted the company. This is baseless post with an attempt to defame the company.
    We always believe in the integrity and accuracy in terms of the information we flow to our prospective students. Our involvement in the Education Recruitment Sector over a decade’s time, the company has never intentionally falsified, misrepresented or misinterpreted any Australian Institutions and Immigration Authorities. This is not good to post defaming the company's reputation using such news-propoganda (your last line is what our company is concerned with). We want to clearly express our dis-agreement upon the portion of the news where our company name is ill-stated. This insertion is a serious offense to the fame of this company and hence we are taking this to next level. Such inclusion without any proof is an ill-intent of defaming our company and hence your website will be held accountable to the Australian Press Council which monitors all news related platforms including website as this.

  • Jerry-Gomez
    Jerry-Gomez Friday, 23 January 2015

    Dear Mr Kafle,
    We follow major Australian newspapers regularly as we have found them to be credible and well researched sources of news for our members. We will publish any correction in connection with this claim when we see it. In the meantime, please do let us know if you receive any response from The Australian directly and we will consider publishing that response.

  • Guest
    Tulasi R Kafle Saturday, 24 January 2015

    Dear Migration Alliance,

    We have questioned The Australian as below, and not heard anything as yet. This will soon go to the Australian Press Council for further investigation.

    Kangaroo Education Foundation condemns this reporting in which the name of Kangaroo education Foundation is mentioned and referenced without any detailed research into the topic, and hence the reputation of the company I work with is defamed to a great deal. The Australian should therefore be charged for defamation of a company through its bias and misleading reporting.
    This is a report gathered and the name of this company is referenced with an ill-intent of damaging the company's reputation, and this is a news-propaganda (your last line is what Kangaroo education Foundation is concerned with). may be that News Corp is used to with such hypothetical reporting that has devastated many individuals in the UK, and now wants to repeat the same from Australia. Yellow journalism is being promoted by New Corp through The Australian. Kangaroo Education Foundation wants to clearly express its dis-agreement upon the portion of the news where the company name is ill-stated. This insertion is a serious offense to the fame of this company and hence Kangaroo education Foundation is taking this to next level. Such inclusion without any proof is an ill-intent of defaming the company and hence your team including the editorials will be held accountable to the Australian Press Council (APC) which monitors all news related platforms including website as this.
    Kangaroo education Foundation therefore requests you to either provide the details of companies that blacklisted, or remove the name of this company with apology, or face the APC.
    A formal complaints for this news has already been lodged with the APC, and KEF demands for objective reporting and questions the credibility of any other news The Australian prints.

  • Guest
    Loucb Monday, 26 January 2015

    Guess what. Australia cannot legislate with respect to overseas sovereign states and businesses in those offshore jurisdictions. Only sheer arrogance of the US Aust and Uk leads them to think that they should be able to do so because they think we are so much more superior to all others (the animal farm mentality). The correct and only logical position is for DIPB to accept offshore unregistered agent applications and undertake the appropriate due diligence. To 'force' applications through registered onshore agents is a 'unionised' attempt to monopolise the market but in fact would only create more potential liability for onshore registered agents ie shifting 'application processing/review' liability from the DIBP to registered agents and likely leading to increased PI premiums

  • Guest
    Andrew Broughton Thursday, 24 September 2015

    Hi maybe you can help us we are looking at setting up a massage shop and wish to use oversea students, are you able to guide us/provide information

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