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Integrity and growth of student visa program to be promoted.



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Senator Kay Patterson Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Media Release

27/3/2000

Integrity and Growth of Student Visa Program to be Promoted The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced changes to the student visa program which will better target those markets which attract genuine overseas students, whilst strengthening the action the Government can take against students who abuse their visa conditions. 

Senator Patterson said the new arrangements will see visa criteria modified to reflect the fact that some categories of applicants in some countries pose a higher risk of visa abuse than others. 

"The new arrangements, which will replace the current gazetted/non-gazetted country regime and the Special Entry Arrangements for students from the PRC, will involve developing objective and measurable indicators of the risk of students not complying with their visa conditions," Senator Patterson said.

"We are developing the criteria in consultation with the education industry. The end result will be a more flexible and responsive student visa system.

Senator Patterson said the changes were necessary for Australia to increase its share of the vital export education market while, at the same time, enhancing the integrity of the student visa system.

Senator Patterson also announced Government action to streamline the visa cancellation processes for students who do not abide by the conditions of their visa.

In future, if an education provider notifies the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs of non-compliance with visa conditions, overseas students will have 28 days to explain to the Department why their visa should not be cancelled.

If they fail to report to the Department in person, their visa will automatically be cancelled and they will be subject to removal from Australia as required by law.

"This change will send a clear message to overseas students that they will be sent home if they abuse the student visa system," Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson also announced the extension and development of systems to allow those providers with a proven ability to attract and retain genuine overseas students to receive streamlined processing of their visa applications.

Other measures announced by the Government include changes to the Education Services to Overseas Students (ESOS) Act to deal with the activities of unscrupulous education providers.

27 March 2000 Media contact: Louise Ahern 0409 034 403