Responding to an exclusive enquiry of southasia.com.au, spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has revealed in the financial year 2013-14, as many as 659 Indian and 224 Nepali students had had their student visas cancelled.
If you are a ‘course-hopper’ who changes course for a cheaper college once you arrive in Australia or a ‘ghost-student’ that turns up at colleges once in a blue moon then rest assured officers from the Department would be interested to talk to you.
The term ‘course-hopping’ refers to the behaviour of entering Australia on streamlined visa processing (SVP) eligible courses and then switch to cheaper unrecognised ones soon after arrival. “Students who engage in this type of behaviour are likely to be in breach of their visa conditions and may, as a result, be subject to visa cancellation,” Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash had warned as early as January 2014.
Now hard facts and figures indicate hundreds of students from Nepal and India are facing possible deportation for breaching their visa conditions.
Whereas the Department is appreciative of the contribution Nepali and Indian students ‘make to both academic life and the communities in which they live’, it has beefed up measures to combat fraudulent behaviours in recent times and does not tolerate non-compliance of visa conditions anymore. “All student visa holders are required to comply with their visa conditions throughout their stay in Australia and ensure that they have the appropriate visa for their intended course of study. Student visa holders who do not comply may have their visa cancelled,” the spokesperson warned.
Information obtained by southasia.com.au shows 34,130 Indian and 10,651 Nepalese nationals were granted student visas in 2013-14 financial year alone.
On the other hand, a total of 253,046 international students were granted visas in 2011-12 and 259,278 in 2012-13 out of which there were 10,587 cancellations in 2011-12 and 8,930 in 2012-13.
According to the Department, student ‘visas are cancelled for a variety of reasons, including when a student is no longer enrolled in a course of study at the appropriate level or fails to comply with their visa conditions relating to work restrictions and course requirements.’
“Student visa holders in Australia are notified that the Department is considering cancellation of their visa and are provided with an opportunity to provide reasons why their visa should not be cancelled,” the Spokesperson said to southasia.com.au when asked what would happen to those whose visas have already been revoked.
The southasia.com.au understands more rigorous mechanisms are being put in place to monitor and counter illegal practices in the wake of a number of media reports of fraudulent activities both by students and agencies.
Students engaged in course-hopping are from Nepal, India, China and Vietnam among other countries, it is learnt. Although this behaviour exists among students, it is not the biggest issue facing the Australian immigration. According to the Department, “Recent Departmental analysis indicates that the overall proportion of students engaging in ‘course hopping’ remains relatively small.”