Australia’s international education sector has recently come under intense scrutiny. A select group of migration agents, education agents and education providers, have been abusing the student visa system and/or running unethical businesses. The government is determined to eliminate fraudulent behaviour with sweeping changes to the industry expected to come into effect by July 2024.
A taste of what is to come has been released in the 200-page Quality and Integrity - the Quest for Sustainable Growth': Interim Report into International Education document, released by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.
ISEAA has been diligently representing education agents throughout the consultation process, and has been referenced multiple times throughout the document.
An example of ISEAA’s input can be found on page 149:
“Education agents promote education and support students on their journey,
including student visa related matters. Education agencies operate outside
Australia, but there is also a significant number in Australia supporting students
throughout their experience onshore beyond their successful enrolment and visa
outcome. Agents often provide ‘welcome and arrival services’, job
support/placement services, career coaching services, even psychological and
mental health support; all for free, as part of their commitment to student support.
Students and parents generally go back to the education agent for ongoing
advice or if they have issues with the education provider, and agents act as a
mediator for academic, and payment related issues.”
Some of the most pertinent takeaways from the 29 recommendations made include:
Increasing regulation of education agents through a code which sets standards for conduct - including providing education providers with more data on agent performance. ISEAA is pushing for self-regulation of agents.
A government-led 5-year marketing plan – to be known as Team Australia – will grow & diversify the international student market - in regions including Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America.
Increasing the employment options of both International Students & Graduate Visa holders through educating employers on work rights, PR pathways, etc.
Dealing with the lack of accommodation available to international students, including fast-tracking purpose-built student accommodation projects.
Addressing the behaviour of unethical education providers – such as heightened monitoring, 12 months of operations before approving for internationals students, and immediate suspensions. This is already underway through the launch of the tip-off hotline for past and present students.
There is not time frame as to when the recommendations will be finalised. Industry consultation is still underway and ISEAA will continue to champion the cause for education agents.
If you are not a current member and would like to to join us at this very important time, please become a member today.