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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said that from 1 January 2010, overseas students who require a new visa to complete their studies at another school or college will be exempt from paying the $540 student visa application charge.

Senator Evans said that although most students will be able to complete their studies on their existing student visa, some may need to enrol in a new course that finishes after their existing student visa expires and will require a new visa.

Twelve education providers have closed in 2009, affecting about 4,700 students. ‘In situations where an education provider can no longer offer a course, the government’s primary concern is the welfare of the student,’ Senator Evans said. ‘We understand that these situations are not the fault of the student and the introduction of a fee exemption will ensure they are not shouldered with an additional financial burden.

In the interim, students will be able to apply to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for a refund of their visa application fee if they’ve been affected by the closure of an education provider in 2009 and have had to apply for a new student visa. Senator Evans said the government is also increasing the minimum financial requirements for overseas students to ensure they can meet their living costs while in Australia.

From 1 January 2010, prospective overseas students will need to demonstrate that they have access to at least $18000 a year to fund their living costs in Australia, instead of the current $12 000.

The new figure better reflects student costs in Australia and is consistent with information published for international students in Australian Education International’s (the international arm of DEEWR) ‘Study in Australia’ guide.

Living costs are one component of the financial requirements for a student visa. Students must also have sufficient funds for tuition fees, travel costs and costs of any dependents.

‘It is important that students understand these financial requirements are only the minimum amount required for a student visa,’ Senator Evans said.

‘International students can supplement their income through part-time work in Australia but the primary purpose of a student visa is to study and students should not rely on part-time work to meet their expenses.

‘Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research so they can make an informed decision about what study in Australia will cost.’

DIAC will also make an assessment of whether the funds demonstrated by students will be available to them while they are in Australia.

‘The Australian Government values international students and is determined to make sure they have a rewarding and successful study experience in Australia, without financial hardship,’ Senator Evans said.

The latest measures will be implemented through regulation change later this month subject to approval by Parliament and the Governor-General.

The changes will support the enhanced integrity measures for the student visa program announced in August this year. Those measures included:

  • 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
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

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

Since these enhanced integrity measures were introduced, there has been an increase in the number of applications being withdrawn, from five per cent in July to 17 per cent in September.

The new figure better reflects student costs in Australia and is consistent with information published for international students in Australian Education International’s (the international arm of DEEWR) ‘Study in Australia’ guide.

Living costs are one component of the financial requirements for a student visa. Students must also have sufficient funds for tuition fees, travel costs and costs of any dependents.

‘It is important that students understand these financial requirements are only the minimum amount required for a student visa,’ Senator Evans said.

‘International students can supplement their income through part-time work in Australia but the primary purpose of a student visa is to study and students should not rely on part-time work to meet their expenses.

‘Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research so they can make an informed decision about what study in Australia will cost.’

DIAC will also make an assessment of whether the funds demonstrated by students will be available to them while they are in Australia.

‘The Australian Government values international students and is determined to make sure they have a rewarding and successful study experience in Australia, without financial hardship,’ Senator Evans said.

The latest measures will be implemented through regulation change later this month subject to approval by Parliament and the Governor-General.

The changes will support the enhanced integrity measures for the student visa program announced in August this year. Those measures included:

  • 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
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

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

Since these enhanced integrity measures were introduced, there has been an increase in the number of applications being withdrawn, from five per cent in July to 17 per cent in September.

And to date, more than 150 agents have had their eVisa access suspended due to evidence of fraud or inactivity.

More information on the changes will be available on the department’s website in coming days.
See: What’s New for Students and Sponsored Training?

 

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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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I ended up being a bit under the weather last week so the blog post from last week is now this weeks blog post.

While I was off work recuperating, I started thinking again about our very first blog post which looked at the most popular location for graduate jobs in Australia. Our very first blog post was about how Melbourne was the most attractive city for graduate job hunters and re-reading it over the week got me thinking about how ready Australian graduates are to relocate for their first graduate job on leaving university.

From that first blog post we found that 55% of graduate job hunters were interested in Melbourne as a place to take up their first graduate position. This fact gets even more interesting when you consider that only 30% of the visitors to our site were actually based in Melbourne to begin with.

Relocate? Sure why not

Relocate? Sure why not

To take things a step further I thought it would be interesting to have a look at how many graduates were interested in relocating to multiple cities after they had finished up at university, so as you do when you’re sick, I ended up sitting down and hitting our database to see how many graduates were interested in relocating to secure their first graduate job and the results were as follows:

Relocation Locations % of Graduate Respondents
3 39.5%
2 16.5%
1 44%

The Breakdown

This is an interesting insight into the attitude of graduates as they are searching for their first graduate job as it shows 3 distinct mindsets.

Firstly there are the 44% of grads who only want to work in one location after they finish their university studies. My thinking on this is that these graduates either want to work and live in their home town or the town they have relocated to for university.

The next group which accounts for 16% of graduates are interested in moving to 2 locations. I think this shows that these graduates have relocated for university and would want to either stay where they are studying or return to their home town.

The remaining 39% of graduates are out to work in 3 or more locations after they finish studying which shows that a large proportion of graduates coming out of university in Australia are very flexible and are keen to do whatever it takes to find a good opportunity. I think this is the group I would have fallen into when I finished studying at university as I was keen to move anywhere  I could secure an opportunity, I even considered going to Norway at one point.

Summing Up

So it seems that the majority of Australian graduates, 56% to be precise, are motivated to relocate once they finish studying which is a good sign for locations such as Western Australia, Queensland and Canberra as these centres do have a high demand for graduates but don’t’ have the largest numbers of graduates studying there compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

Source  :  http://www.gradconnection.com.au/blog/goverment-graduate-recruitment/australian-graduates-ready-to-relocate-for-graduate-jobs.html

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HOUSE prices could rise by as much as 22 per cent during the next three years, an economic forecaster says.   house price

”The conditions are ripe for a sustained recovery in residential property prices,” according to BIS Shrapnel’s Residential Property Prospects, 2009 to 2012, report.

”Low interest rates, solid growth in rents and housing shortages are evident in most markets.

”However, the current economic malaise will mean confidence will only recover slowly during 2009/10.”

BIS Shrapnel senior project manager and study author Angie Zigomanis said that, at this stage, all of the action was occurring at the lower-priced end of the market.

This is due to a surge in first-home buyer demand as a result of the federal government’s first home owner boost scheme and low interest rates, he said.

BIS Shrapnel forecasts there will be 180,000 first-home buyers in 2009.

Although first-home buyer demand was expected to ease after the expiry of the government’s boost scheme at the end of 2009, upgraders and investors were expected to take the baton, Mr Zigomanis said.

”We expect rising confidence in the prospects for an economic recovery in 2010, so investors are likely to return in greater numbers, attracted by increased rental returns and low interest rates.”

Among the state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide will show the strongest price growth over the next three years, at 19 per cent.

More moderate growth is expected in Brisbane, Hobart, and Canberra, while price growth in Perth and Darwin is expected to be weak as the local economies of these cities are impacted by a decline in investment spending in the resources sector.

BIS Shrapnel estimates Sydney’s median house price at June 2009 to be $530,000, and predicts it will rise by mid-2012 to $630,000. Melbourne’s current median house price is estimated at $425,000, rising to $507,000 by June 2012.

In Adelaide, the median price is estimated at $360,000 and predicted to climb to $430,000 over the three years.

Among other cities around Australia, Newcastle and Wollongong are expected to benefit from the migration of residents from Sydney over the coming years.

The median house price in Newcastle is expected to soar 22 per cent over the three years, while Wollongong is forecast to see growth of 20 per cent in the same period.

In Brisbane, the average house is estimated to cost $391,000 now and is expected to cost $455,000 by mid-2012, an increase of 16 per cent.

Hobart’s median house price is estimated to be $335,000 and will rise by 15 per cent to $385,000 over the three year period.

An average house in Canberra is estimated to cost $440,000, increasing to $515,000 by 2012, a rise of 17 per cent.

In Perth, the estimated median house price is $425,000, expected to reach $475,000 in three years, up 12 per cent.

Darwin’s forecast median house price is $470,000, predicted to show an increase of 11 per cent over the three years.

For the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, BIS Shrapnel forecasts prices will increase by 14 per cent, while Townsville prices are expected to grow 13 per cent over the three years.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The_Sky_Railway_TrackA consortium behind a multi billion dollar port and rail project in Western Australia’s mid west says construction will start in 2011.

Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) locked in an agreement with the State Government in April to build a $4 billion port and associated rail infrastructure.

The Chief Executive of OPR, Chris Eves, has told a business gathering in Perth this morning that the consortium hopes to complete the project by 2013.

Mr Eves says $60 million has already been spent undertaking a feasibility study with another $100 million to be spent in the next 18 months.

http://au.biz.yahoo.com/090512/31/269qw.html

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