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Posts Tagged ‘Employment and Workplace Relations’

The professional association representing migration agents, the Migration Institute of Australia, is concerned about allegations raised on tonight’s Four Corners program on migration and education scams.

“Unfortunately, hearing reports about international students and visa applicants falling prey to unscrupulous operators is not a new issue”, says Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

In May 2008, the MIA reported 60 rogue agents from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and is unaware if any of these were prosecuted.

Any unethical or illegal behaviour by registered migration agents is not tolerated by the Institute and should be cracked down on by the Department.

“We’ve been asking government to sort out problems with education agents and illegal or unscrupulous operators for an extended period of time. The announcement that education agents will have a register is a first step but doesn’t go far enough in reforming the sector,” says Ms Horder.

A recent independent report, entitled Changing Together, confirms the nature of some of the problems which affects the profession – that the bad behaviour of a minority of unscrupulous operators’ impacts negatively on the entire migration advice profession.

“Following the report’s release, the MIA is acting on a comprehensive range of reforms to strengthen standards and ethics of migration agents.” says Ms Horder. These include:

• Comprehensive reform to the education and training of agents
• Requiring current Registered Migration Agents to requalify to a higher standard of English language and professional competence
• Introduce a tiered system of registration to protect consumers
• Formation of an independent complaints body with the power to review fees

Responsibility for change should be shared by education providers, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

“I wait with interest to see tonight’s Four Corners episode and hope that it will provide an added impetus for the key stakeholders to come together and develop appropriate policies to meet Australia’s educational and immigration interests without anyone being exploited.”

  • Source  :  www.mia.org.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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