“We consider the GTE just telling the student story, so you’ve got to provide context to immigration”
The first event, held at the University of Wollongong’s Sydney campus in December, attracted 70 agents and providers to network and learn about the genuine temporary entrant requirement of Australia’s student visa.
“When you have that in-person training, you do get good interaction, and question and answer through the audience,” explained ISEAA representative and Sympled organiser Robert Parsonson.
“The other reason is networking opportunities, as agents don’t get a chance apart from parties… we provide time just to get together and talk about what’s happening.”
Parsonson said the GTE, a subjective measure used by officers for the Department of Home Affairs to gauge the legitimacy of a student’s visa application, had been an area of concern for both agents and providers.
“We consider the GTE just telling the student story, so you’ve got to provide context to immigration on what you’ve done and what you plan to do in Australia, then how to use that training back in your home country,” he told The PIE News.
Among the confusion around the GTE requirement, Parsonson said agents were unclear as to the level of information needed and the best way to frame it, with rejections allegedly coming off the back of too much or too little justification.
On occasion, visa officers had also rejected an application because the agent had not indicated they wrote the statement on behalf of the student, and officers used it as evidence of the student having better English proficiency than specified, he added.
As part of the training, Parsonson said ISEAA also focused on the difference between migration advice and providing information within the public domain, as the former can only be carried out by a registered migration agent.
The GTE requirement has also come under scrutiny from both the vocational and English language sectors, after a rise in visa rejections.