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Aus: “release visa risk ratings” – ITECA

A leading independent higher education body in Australia has called on the country’s government to release awaited data on student visa-related performances of CRICOS education providers. 

The data was supposed to be released in March, but there has been no update on when it will materialise. Photo: Pexels

The Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia sent a letter detailing its concerns to Immigration Minister Andrew Giles on April 19.

It comes amid a subcommittee hearing on the sector at large in Australia, where Phil Honeywood, CEO of IEAA, said the current visa system setup was “becoming a Ponzi scheme”.

The letter says a representative from the Department of Home Affairs had indicated the reports – dubbed the Student Visa Program Evidence Levels – would be released in March, but have yet to materialise.

“ITECA has advised the Minister that this delay has caused significant reputational damage to Australia’s international education providers, creating a financial risk due to the adverse impact on future international student enrolments,” Troy Williams, chief executive of ITECA, told The PIE News. 

“International education providers deserve better than to be left in the lurch by government delays,” he insisted. 

The letter goes on to remind the Minister that the updates are relied upon by all parties involved, including the providers, the agents that recruit students and the students themselves. 

Mentioning how independent tertiary providers supported “55% of all international student enrolments” in 2022 – 404,000 out of over 619,000, according to data from the Austrade year in review –  the document also refers to the potential snowballing financial risk from the aforementioned “adverse impact” on future enrolments. 

“International education providers deserve better than to be left in the lurch”

“From the perspective of ITECA, this issue is not just about the financial stability of education providers. It is also about the long-standing reputation of Australia as a top destination for international students,” Williams stated.

“Since the 1950s, Australia has welcomed students from all over the world, and the education sector has become a vital part of the country’s social and economic fabric.

“ITECA’s call for action is a reminder that Australia must stand up for its education industry and support the students who want come to our shores to learn,” Williams said.

The letter ends with ITECA inviting officials to meet with them on the matter, and “looking forward to continued engagement with the Australian Government”.

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