Universities Australia (UA) are urging the government to implement harsher rules for vocational training course visas to prevent their being used as a pathway to residency.
According to UA’s concerns, a high number of overseas students are registering for brief vocational training courses as they offer a shortcut to being granted permanent residency in the country. The organisation believes Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s best education providers is being compromised by the so-called PR-driven students.
UA has submitted a report to the Senates’ inquiry into the welfare of students, stating that a ‘cheap and dirty’ route’ to permanent residence is being promoted by a number of offshore visa and education agencies. According to the report, potential reforms to stop the practice were proposed, but Australian migrant agencies state that to date nothing has been done.
Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, stated in early August that immigration’s focus was to be on skilled migration as the way forward for the country’s economy. As a result, permanent residence is set to become much harder to obtain by those whose work experience, skills and qualifications don’t fit the bill.
Evans is at present refusing to rule out student visas as a first step towards the gaining of permanent residency, although speculation is rife that future reforms to the system will move the goalposts. Many overseas students now studying in Australian further education institutes may find that, by the time they graduate, their skills may not qualify for permanent residency eligibility.
Source: Education News