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THE education export industry has to find a new way to prosper now that the government has made it harder for would-be migrants to use study as a route to permanent residency, social researcher Bob Birrell says.

In the Monash University journal People and Place, Dr Birrell said the industry, whose phenomenal growth had been helped by foreign students seeking permanent residency as skilled migrants, had reached a crossroads.

Dr Birrell is co-director of Monash’s Centre for Population and Urban Research, People and Place’s publisher.

He said a change to the skilled migration rules in December last year, coupled with other reforms, would put permanent residency beyond the reach of many former overseas students with poor English, little work experience and low-value qualifications in hospitality and cooking.

“Those providers who have built their business around marketing a credential that will lead to permanent residence must refocus their business,” he said. “They need to sell credentials that overseas students believe they can take back to their country of origin with profit.”

But Dennis Murray, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, said the new rules would have little effect on universities although they would cut growth in hospitality courses. “We don’t see a wholesale collapse of the industry, which is what Bob would like to see,” he said.

Dr Birrell argued the appeal of permanent residency and lax rules for skilled migration delivered strong growth in business and information technology courses at universities in the early 2000s and even more dramatic growth since 2005 in hospitality, cooking and hairdressing courses at private colleges and TAFE institutes.

But the education business had come to distort the migration program, producing graduates ill-equipped or uninterested in the jobs they were supposedly trained for. Dr Birrell said the government took a stand, culminating in the tough new rules of December last year, but the surge in student numbers had carried through into the first few months of this year, for which there was official data.

“My expectation would be that the enrolments in the hospitality area will decline significantly once the message gets back via the recruitment network to the countries of origin,” he said.

Dr Birrell said higher education also would lose fee income because graduates in accounting, a field that had enjoyed strong growth, had to have better English or take on an extra year of professional training.

But he said the government needed to back its tough policy changes with a clearer message to the industry. Instead, it had allowed more than 40,000 former students to stay on temporary and bridging visas, even though most had little chance of securing permanent residency. Most had taken up temporary visas created to soften the blow of September 2007 reforms aimed at the poor English and poor employment prospects of former students.

Dr Birrell said another, sizeable group had found a loophole. In the year to May the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had allowed 15,417 former students to apply for permanent residency as skilled migrants, despite their lacking occupations on the tough new critical skills list ushered in last December. The department had put off the processing of applications by those lacking critical skills, meaning these students remained on bridging visas.

The department’s decision to accept these applications, and the $2105 fee, was “contentious and unwise” because it suggested these students eventually might win permanent residency despite not meeting the tight new rules.

“I think there’s something of a battle going on within government as to which should be given priority: the maintenance of the (overseas student) industry on the one hand and dealing with the immigration problems generated by it on the other,” Dr Birrell said.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the government was pursuing a more carefully targeted migration program, given the difficult economic times.

“Australia is giving priority to those people sponsored by employers or on the critical skills list, thus ensuring the nation gets people with the skills the economy and employers need,” he said.

Source  :  www.theaustralian.news.com.au

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Foreign students could be forced to leave – Research your migration agent first

SCORES of foreign students, suspected of using bogus documents to support permanent residency applications, have been discovered by Federal Government migration fraud investigators.

More than 60 students, whose documents were initially accepted as genuine by the Government, will be forced to leave Australia if they are unable to prove their documents are authentic.

It is the latest indication that rorting in the lucrative $15.5 billion international education industry — the nation’s third-biggest export earner — is a serious problem, which could undermine the integrity of Australia’s education and immigration systems.

The students are suspected of using fake references from employers, which claim to show they have 900 hours’ work experience in a job related to their area of study.

Foreign students are required to provide evidence of 900 hours’ work experience to support their applications for permanent residency.

Sources in the international education industry have told The Age some students pay up to $20,000 to rogue college operators or middlemen, such as unscrupulous migration agents or education agents, to obtain fake paperwork.

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is the body nominated by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to assess skills, including those of foreign students. Under the Australian migration system, a successful skills assessment by TRA can be used by foreign students to support their permanent residency applications.

In the last financial year, TRA received 34,180 applications for skills assessment, about 10,000 of which were from foreign students. TRA initially accepted the documents of the students in question as genuine. But after the Federal Government received information suggesting their paperwork could be bogus, it sent letters to the students threatening to revoke their successful skills assessments if they did not prove their documents were authentic within 28 days.

More than 60 such letters have been sent to foreign students since the start of the year, with 48 sent last month alone.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, which investigates matters relating to international education refuses to say how many students have already had successful skills assessments revoked.

“Disclosing departmental actions as part of quality control and fraud measure could adversely impact on the administration of the program,” the department said in a statement to The Age.

The students are believed to be either close to the expiry of their student visas or on bridging visas. Either way, they will be expected to leave the country within 28 days if they are unable to prove their documents are genuine.

The identification of students suspected of using bogus documents follows the discovery of an alleged racket uncovered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in March.

Three migration agents were allegedly providing fake documentation to support permanent residency applications for foreign students based on their claimed skills in a number of occupations, including cooking, hairdressing, horticulture work and car mechanics.

Investigations are continuing into possible offences relating to forgery and migration fraud, which carry penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Source  :  www.theage.com.au

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FOUL-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay has shocked a public audience by vilifying high profile Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw in an obscene, sexist rant.

The putrid tirade, which included references to Grimshaw’s looks, sexuality and depictions of her as a pig, shocked audiences who went to see the celebrity chef at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne.

Ramsay told an audience of several thousand people that Grimshaw was “a lesbian”, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

When the crowd reacted with gasps, he said: “What? I’m not saying she’s a …”

The phrase that Ramsay used was a highly derogatory term often used to describe lesbians.

Ramsay also showed a picture of a woman – who appeared to be naked – on her hands and knees with the features of a pig and multiple breasts. 

Tracy Grimshaw,” he told the audience. “I had an interview with her yesterday – holy crap.

“She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.”

Ramsay – who later dismissed the comments as a joke – went on with more innuendos about Grimshaw’s sexual preference and activities.

The crude remarks did not impress Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, who phoned Ramsay to tell him they were inappropriate and that he had gone too far.

Just a year ago, the celebrity chef had been lauded as the network’s saviour, with his programs Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares rating highly.

Mandy Saunders was at the food expo with her two children and elderly mother.                                          gorden

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing – it was disgusting,” Ms Saunders said.

“The show is meant for families. That was way out of order.”

Anthony Kavroulas was also in the audience at Ramsay’s performance.

“What can I say? It was totally sexist,” Mr Kavroulas said.

Women’s groups also expressed their disgust, saying it was wrong that Ramsay was making money by comparing women with animals.

Melinda Tankard Reist, from Women’s Forum Australia, said Ramsay’s sponsors should dump him and he should leave Australia.

“Ramsay’s sexist and demeaning actions are offensive to every Australian woman,” Ms Reist said.
“Why should he get paid for depicting a woman as an animal and publicly deriding her looks?

“He shouldn’t be making money through the verbal abuse of women.

“Gordon Ramsay is no longer welcome here. The sponsors of his trip should immediately remove their support and send him packing.”

LG, a major sponsor of the Good Food and Wine Show, said it did not want to comment on the incident.

Ramsay appeared on Nine’s A Current Affair and was interviewed by Tracy Grimshaw on Friday night.

During the interview, he commented on Grimshaw’s facial mole, asking: “Is that a wart? It looks like your little sister’s on your lip.”

Grimshaw appeared to take that remark well.

But A Current Affair executive producer Grant Williams said yesterday the chef had gone too far and should stick to cooking and lay off the comedy.

“We know Gordon Ramsay sets out to shock, but if what we’re being told is true, we’re very surprised,” Williams said.

“Frankly, although it’s plainly a joke, it’s out of order.

“Gordon has proved here that he doesn’t need to be in the kitchen to create a nightmare.

“As a comedian, he makes a pretty good cook. Maybe he’d be better off at The Chaser.”

A spokeswoman for Ramsay said the stunt was just a joke and should have been taken as one.

“He really respects Tracy Grimshaw as a journalist. It was just a joke,” Sarah Armstrong said.

“She interviews him every time he comes to Australia. They have a great relationship.”

Source www.news.com.au

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George Calombaris has been awarded more accolades for his work than most receive in a lifetime, and this exuberant chef is still just 30 years of age.  george

George’s molecular gastronomy has seen him become a much talked about chef in the international cooking circuit.

In 2004, the Global Food and Wine Magazine voted George one of the Top 40 Chefs of Influence in the World. An internationally successful restaurateur, George owns three restaurants in Melbourne and one in Mykonos, Greece. His flagship Melbourne restaurant, The Press Club, was recently awarded The Age Good Food Guide ‘Best New Restaurant 2008’ with George named ‘Chef of the Year 2008’.

Fiery, passionate and outspoken, George does not mince his words and will push the contestants to grow, improve and strive for excellence in their cooking.

“MasterChef Australia is the first reality prime-time cooking show that not only depicts the highs and lows of the hospitality industry, but the passion that each person on the show has for food. It is real. Real food and real people. I am a living example for all the cooks on MasterChef Australia and I hope I can give them the full reality of what this hard but beautiful industry is all about. I am fair and understanding, but I will not accept rubbish.” – George Calombaris

www.masterchef.com.au

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