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Monday, 9 May 1994
Page: 476

(Question No. 1249)


Senator Bell asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 22 March 1994:

  (1) In August 1989, what was the basis for concern about `large' numbers of overseas students overstaying their entry permits and to which category or categories of students did this concern relate.

  (2) How many ELICOS, TAFE, university and secondary school students overstayed their entry permits during the 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 financial years, by country.


Senator Bolkus —I am advised that the answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) Monitoring of the numbers of students overstaying indicated a continual increase in overstay rates, especially for short course students who were primarily undertaking English language courses.

  The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) rate of overstay at the end of May 1989 was 23.3% compared with 12.2% for all student categories. The highest ELICOS rates were in respect of students from the People's Republic of China (PRC) (33.5%), Korea (31.9%), Thailand (28.4%) and Taiwan (21.0%).

  At the same time arrivals were continuing to increase significantly. ELICOS arrivals for the financial year 1988/89 increased by 59% (to

20,000) over 1987/88. During this period PRC

ELICOS arrivals increased by 80% to 10,182.

  (2) Estimates of student illegal entrants are derived from information stored in the Department's Movement Database and show the number and citizenship of persons in Australia at a given point in time without a valid entry permit.

  The following table provides estimates of overstayed students, by major countries of citizenship, extracted at given points in time since July 1988. This is the earliest date for which these estimates are available. A comparable breakdown by course of study is not available.

Table: Student Illegal Entrants by Country of Citizenship

Country of Date Estimate Extracted

Citizenship*

31/7/88 31/1/89 31/7/89 30/4/90 30/4/91 30/4/92 31/12/92 30/6/93

PRC 1691 3526 2959 2287 4027 6210 10741 9733

UK 265 223 132 487 171 152 100 102

Fiji 447 496 539 1112 544 473 530 469

Malaysia 2140 1106 885 3158 1069 766 659 672

Indonesia 952 937 748 1867 1275 1264 976 893

Korea 859 1209 928 1595 768 623 859 836

Thailand 345 750 670 1088 546 520 413 346

Tonga 86 134 112 193 157 126 145 128

Japan 97 135 74 231 146 152 90 96

Hong Kong** 289 319 265 1311 329 300 240 285

Taiwan 252 358 240 284 229 227 147 151

Sri Lanka *** 143 91 245 281 402 361 350

Singapore 180 79 89 543 163 166 125 129

Pakistan *** 71 72 180 499 468 477 474

Other 1014 931 767 1814 1440 1333 1142 1037

Total 8617 10417 8571 16395 11644 13182 17005 15701

  * With more than 100 illegal entrants.

  ** Includes holders of British Dependent Territories Citizenship.

  *** Not available.

  Source: Movements Database, DIEA