Last week at a meeting with the Victorian State Director, Amanda Paxton, the MIA National President, Angela Chan, the MIA COO, Kevin Lane, and the Vic/Tas State President, Robert Chen, raised concerns about the large number of student visa cancellations for breach of Condition 8516.
The Department has provided further information on the operation that saw 1000 x Intention to Consider Cancellation Notices being sent and approximately 750 x student visas eventually being cancelled.
The Department's targeted 'course hopping' students in the following cohorts:
Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573) holders granted their visas under the streamlined visa processing provisions (requiring less scrutiny) who, shortly after arrival in Australia, then applied for and were refused Vocational Education and Training Sector visas (subclass 572) (non-streamlined visa processing that requires more scrutiny);
Student visa holders who have not acted on advice from the department to abide by the requirements of their Student visas;
Student visa holders who, upon arrival in Australia, have changed to a course of study that has no correlation to the course of study for which their Student visa was granted. For example, a Student visa holder intends to study for a Bachelor of Engineering, and then changes to a cookery course of study.
Student course hoppers who have an adverse immigration history.
All students are given an opportunity to provide an explanation of their circumstances hence the decision not to cancel in approximately 250 cases. The Department works under a discretionary framework, and where students have demonstrated a genuine intention to study at the appropriate level for which their visa was granted we have made a decision not to cancel.
It should also be noted that of more than 4,000 students identified in breach of condition 8516, the Department only took action against those students considered high risk and within the cohorts outlined above.
Further information about changing course is available on the Department's website for students considering changing courses.
The Education Visa Consultative Committee in which a number of Education Providers and Industry Partners are represented was provided with regular updates throughout the course hopping campaign and supported the Department's approach.