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Posts Tagged ‘Students’

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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    Allegations of cheating by students in immigration exams has seen the launch of a corruption investigation.

    Australia’s largest international student service, IDP Australia, is investigating possible corruption among its staff after students in Sydney were caught cheating on exams it conducts for the Department of Immigration, The Sun-Herald newspaper reports.

    Copies of the May International English Language Testings System (IELTS) exam were sold for between $12,000 and $18,000, one source claims.

    “These have been leaking out for months,” the source told newspaper.

    “It’s like a chain of command. It came from the official service who gives it out and takes his cut.

    IDP would not confirm how many people had been caught cheating.

    “Cheating in IELTS tests is not commonplace,” an IDP Australia spokeswoman said.

    “‘However given the high stakes involved, attempts to cheat or engage in other fraudulent activity such as identity fraud do occur.

    “Recently in Australia a number of test takers have been detected in their attempt to cheat in the IELTS test. Whether or not it was an internal problem, we don’t know.”

    IDP is investigating the matter.

    Meanwhile, the Immigration Department has defended its outsourcing of English tests, which have been handled by IDP since 1994.

    Source  :  www.ninemsn.com.au

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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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    One of WA’s largest educational institutions has moved its students into the digital age.

    East Perth-based Central TAFE is about to roll out its first student e-mail service, after signing a deal with Microsoft.

    The TAFE will offer its 15,000 students the software giant’s Live@Edu application, after trialling it with about 500 of them.

    It follows a nine-month process which began when WA TAFE’s issued a tender for the supply of student e-mail services. Microsoft was awarded the tender last month.

    Central TAFE managing director Neil Fernandes said Live@Edu would offer “connectivity and collaboration right across our campuses”.

    Other WA TAFE’s – who have about 120,000 students between them – are watching Central’s pilot program. Live@Edu offers 10GB-capacity mailboxes and the potential to send and receive 20MB attachments.

    Source  :  www.watoday.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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    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 more swine flu cases in WA, Scotch College student ill

    NEARLY 100 staff and students at WA’s exclusive Scotch College are being tested for swine flu after an 11-year-old boy fell ill with the virus.

    Eleven-year-old Scotch College student, Harry, who returned from Melbourne on June 1, has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

    A 23-year-old woman, who returned from Melbourne on June 3, was also confirmed to have it.

    Harry had flown to Melbourne with a youth football team and on returning to Perth went on a school music camp before developing symptoms.

    He did not return to school after the camp because he was feeling sick.

    “I had a really burning temperature,” Harry said yesterday from home quarantine.

    “It was really hot. I was sweating.”

    Harry’s mother, Jennifer, said: “It was a really big shock. If there was no talk of swine flu and no Melbourne issue I would have just thought it was the same old cold or flu he has had before.”

    Eighty-nine students and 10 staff also on the Scotch College camp are being tested for the virus and anyone with flu-like symptoms is being urged to stay home.

    Four teammates suffering “flu symptoms’

    It is believed four other boys in Harry’s football team are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

    Scotch College acting principal Peter Freitag said there were no immediate plans to close the school down.

    “It would be very difficult to close the school,” he said.

    “It’s a boarding school, we have 170 boarders.

    “We wouldn’t want to close the school unless we have to.

    “At this stage we’re not anywhere near that.”

    However, Health Department’s communicable disease control director Paul Effler did not rule out temporarily closing the school if students on the music camp tested positive to swine flu and had since been to school.

    WA flu tally reaches four

    The Health Department confirmed that WA’s swine flu tally had reached four.

    “We are contacting the students, parents and teachers who participated in these events with the young boy and the close contacts of the young woman,” Dr Effler said.

    “The close contacts of the cases have been asked to remain in home quarantine and have been provided with anti-viral medication as a precaution.

    “The school has been very co-operative in helping us reach students, families and staff in a timely manner.”

    More than 1000 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Australia, with the most in the eastern states.

    On Thursday the Health Department issued a statement extending its voluntary quarantine policy for children who have recently travelled to areas affected by swine flu, including Victoria.

    Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic because in most instances the swine-flu virus appeared to cause a relatively mild illness.

    “I would encourage people to make sure they cover their nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, to wash their hands frequently (and) most importantly, stay home if you are sick to limit the spread of the viruses in our community,” he said.

    Dr Effler said people should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people in vulnerable groups, including those aged over 65 and under five.

    While the influenza vaccine won’t protect against the new strain of swine influenza, it will protect against serious illness caused by seasonal influenza.

    If you think you have swine flu phone your doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For more information on swine flu visit 

    Department of Health website  www.health.wa.gov.au

    Source  www.news.com.au

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    The Education Tax Refund (ETR) is a new government initiative to help with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children. It means eligible parents,tax refund carers, legal guardians and independent students could get 50% back on some education expenses. This includes items like computers, educational software, textbooks and stationery.

    Most people are eligible for the ETR because they receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A. However, there are some payments that prevent you from receiving FTB Part A, but which still entitle you to receive the refund. You can also claim the refund if you are an independent student.

    You can claim the ETR each financial year for children in primary and/or secondary school, or if you are an independent student. You will be able to claim the refund from 1 July 2009 for the 2008/09 financial year. This means you can claim for items purchased from 1 July 2008. Remember to keep your receipts as they will help you calculate your entitlement and you may be required to produce them as proof of purchase.

    You can claim the ETR even if you are not required to lodge a tax return.

    For more information, see  http://www.educationtaxrefund.gov.au/about-the-ETR/

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    DANCE FUSION, now with locations in Malaga & Joondalup, DANCE FUSION is proud to be relocating their MAIN STUDIO to new premises in Malaga in 2009! Boasting TWO large studio spaces, fully equipped with new wooden dance floors, wall mirrors, ballet barres, air conditioning & modern facilities! They are very pleased to be providing the best dancing has to offer to their students.

    Exciting new classes in 2009 include:
    BOYS ONLY hip hop/break dancing, “Petite Performers” jazz & tap class (5-8yrs),
    “Wiggles & Giggles” (3-5yrs), “Mum’s & Bub’s” (2-3yrs), “Tiny Tumblers” Acrobats,
    “Barbie Ballerina’s” & much, much more!!

    Whether you are after ‘just for fun’ classes, or wish to take your dancing a little more seriously, DANCE FUSION is sure to have a class to suit everyone.
    With over 25 years experience in the dancing & entertainment industry, DANCE FUSION makes learning to dance FUN, EXCITING, REWARDING, and as HASSLE FREE as possible.

    Unit 1, 28 Oxleigh Drive, Malaga
    Western Australia 6069
    P: (08) 9249 2220
    M: 0401 150 411

    http://www.dancefusion.com.au/

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    WOODVALE Senior High School will receive $2.2 million of Federal Government funds to build a new covered, four-court basketball facility.

    Woodvale principal Paul Leech said the school’s four existing basketball courts would be resurfaced with a synthetic surface and covered with a roof.

    “At the moment we only have one small gym, so many of our gym classes have to be held outside the school,” he said.

    “At the moment we only have one the funding and thanked them for all their hard work.

    WA Senator Louise Pratt said the facility would provide students and community sporting groups with much needed sporting infrastructure.

    “This new sporting facility will provide a secure and comfortable sporting venue for players and spectators alike to benefit from,” she said.

    Cowan MHR Luke Simpkins said he had been trying to secure the money for some time, and that the funding had taken 18 months too long.

    Source : http://wanneroo.inmycommunity.com.au/news-and-views/local-news/Woodvale-nets-22m-funding/7527284/

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