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Senate passes measures to promote integrity of student visa program.

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

Media Release

6 December 2000

Senate Passes Measures to Promote Integrity of Student Visa Program The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kay Patterson, today welcomed the passage through the Senate of changes to the student visa program which will strengthen the action the Government can take against unscrupulous education providers and students who fail to adhere to their visa conditions.

"These measures were developed in close consultation with the international education industry in order to protect the vast majority of providers who provide a quality international education experience against the very small minority of unscrupulous providers who were bringing the industry into disrepute," Senator Patterson said.

The measures were contained in the Migration Legislation Amendment (Overseas Students) Bill, which was moved by the Government as part of a package with the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Bills.

"The changes mean that if an education provider notifies the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs of an overseas student's non-compliance with a visa condition relating to attendance or academic performance, students will have 28 days to explain to the Department why their visa should not be cancelled," Senator Patterson said.

"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.

"These changes will complement previously announced measures to extend and develop systems to allow those providers with a proven ability to attract and retain genuine overseas students to receive streamlined processing of their visa applications.

The package of changes also provide a power for the Minister for Immigration and

Multicultural Affairs to cease granting visas to applicants intending to study with education providers that appear to be attracting a disproportionate number of non bona fide overseas students.

"Education exports are worth more than $3 billion to the Australian economy," Senator Patterson said. "Working together across departments, the passage of this Bill marks the implementation of a whole-of-Government approach to protect the integrity of this vital export industry."

Media enquiries: Louise Ahern (02) 6277 3800

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