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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is strengthening checks on student visa applications to stamp out fraud and ensure students have the financial capacity to live and study in Australia.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans said today that applications for student visas grew by 20 per cent to 362 193 in 2008-09, with almost 28 000 student visas refused, an increase of 68 per cent on the number of refusals in 2007-08.

‘While overall student visa compliance rates remain high, there are elements of concern within this large caseload,’ the minister said.

The targeted measures will address the potential for document fraud and other issues around financial capacity, identification and bona fides in some parts of the student caseload. The measures implemented with immediate effect include:

  • upgrading the interview program to build a strong evidence base around fraud;
  • removing or restricting eVisa access for some agents where there is evidence of fraud or inactivity, and
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

The measures will target parts of the student visa caseload in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

‘These measures are consistent with those used by other countries that receive large numbers of student visa applications, such as the United States,’ Senator Evans said.

‘Australia’s student visa program supports the entry of genuine international students. For those students, the department provides a convenient, efficient service.

‘The message is clear: genuine international students remain welcome in Australia, but we will not tolerate fraud in the student visa program.’

The measures are part of the Government’s ongoing response to any changes in risk in visa programs and will build on work already conducted across the student visa program to combat fraud as it emerges. Similar arrangements are already in place for students from other countries, such as Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

‘Student visa requirements are aligned to the immigration risk presented by an applicant. The greater the risk identified, the more evidence required to be granted a student visa. Risk is determined by an objective analysis of visa compliance,’ Senator Evans said.

The next formal review of student visa risk framework is scheduled for 2010. The data obtained from the enhanced checking of student visa applications will help inform future reviews.

Source  :  http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2009/ce09075.htm

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Migration agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA).

Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA)

Prior to 1 July 2009, the MIA acted as the MARA under a Deed of Agreement between the MIA and the department. The 2007-08 Review of Statutory Self-Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession, which was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory scheme, recommended that the government consider establishing a regulatory body separate from the MIA.

In response to the review recommendation, the Minister announced the establishment of the Office of the MARA as a discrete office attached to the department and headed by a specifically designated senior officer solely responsible for Office of the MARA activities. The new body is located in Sydney and assumed functions from the MIA from 1 July 2009.

The Office of the MARA is supported by a representative advisory board, which includes a nominee from the MIA, a nominee from the Law Council of Australia, a consumer advocate and a community representative.

The Office of the MARA undertakes a range of functions including:

  • processing registration and re-registration applications
  • administering the profession’s entrance exam and continuing professional development program
  • monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents
  • investigating complaints about registered migration agents
  • taking appropriate disciplinary action against registered migration agents who breach the migration agents Code of Conduct or otherwise behave in an unprofessional or unethical way.

See: Office of the MARA website

Source  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/gateways/agents/regulation-of-advice-profession.htm

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alliedhealth4Skilled health professionals in the west of the UK are being given the chance to find out about a new life in Australia at the Down Under Live event in Cardiff. on the 11th July. 

There is currently a significant shortage of doctors, medical specialists and nurses in Australia, particularly in regional areas. One of Australia’s leading healthcare recruitment companies, HealthStaff Recruitment, will be coming from Australia to interview candidates for positions in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and other cities.

Candidates will also be able to talk to a range of companies that will make the move possible, including migration agents, state governments, banks and shipping companies.

Tickets are free to any skilled professionals in the healthcare professions. For further information or to apply for tickets, go to www.emigrationseminars.com/cardiff.php

Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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The Migration Institute of Australia supports calls for a Senate Inquiry into international education in Australia.   Studying 

The sector deserves closer scrutiny by government, including an attempt to crack down on education agents here and overseas who, unlike migration agents, can act without regulation. It is an industry too valuable to be hijacked by illegal and unethical behaviour by either desperate visa seekers or unscrupulous operators.

If migration agents are involved they will be barred from the profession. This behaviour is not tolerated in the migration profession. Students who need immigration or visa advice should only rely on registered migration agents.

Once arriving here, international students deserve the wholehearted support of the Australian community and it is loathsome that those seeking an education may be targeted by violent offenders. We can’t let a valuable Australian educational experience be tainted by the shocking behaviour of the few.

Source  www.mia.org.au

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Two WA businesses have joined forces to resurrect the 80s trend of home trading to give today’s buyers a new approach in the tough economic climate.
  
Tradehomes.com.au launched last week, in conjunction with OrangeTee Real Estate, to offer a forum where sellers can advertise their properties and negotiate an equal trade for other property, cash or any item with an asset value.
  
Common trade items include houses, land, vehicles, boats, gold, gems, stocks, bonds and jewellery, providing the traded assets total the value of the property’s price.
  
Trade Homes Australia director Kara Tripp said the service was nothing new but was giving a new breed of buyers and sellers a fresh option in a difficult market.
  
“At the end of the day, trading has always been going on behind the scenes, with people exchanging properties for properties etc; we are just creating a forum for people to do it,” Ms Tripp said.
  
“It is getting harder for some buyers to get finance so it is just thinking outside the box. If they have other assets, such as a boat, it is essentially turning that into property.” 
   

OrangeTee Real Estate was theexchanging properties for properties, providing support for traders at the negotiation and settlement stages.
  
“A lot of people get quite daunted when it comes to negotiating deals, so we thought it would be helpful to have experienced real estate agents on board, for people who like the idea but are not comfortable doing it themselves,” Ms Tripp said.
  
So far, one deal has involved the trade of an apartment for assets that included gemstones and gold.
  
REIWA president Rob Druitt said the practice was fine as long as it was well managed and researched, with all parties seeking the appropriate valuation and advice before entering into discussions.

 

LOUISE BAXTER  www.thewest.com.au

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