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Vice-chancellor: International students a permanent residency scam
January 28, 2020 | 3 comments
In August last year, Professor Salvatore Babones released alarming research showing that Australia has by far the highest concentration of international students in the developed world, with around two-and-a-half times the concentration of second-placed United Kingdom and around three times the concentration of third-placed Canada:
Since that report was released, the concentration of international students studying in Australia would certainly have increased, given total international student enrolments across all Australian educational institutions ballooned by 9.8% over the year to October to a record high 918,000:
In a similar vein, total international student enrolments at Australia’s universities surged by 11.5% year-on-year to 435,000:
This extreme concentration of international students has raised further concerns that greedy universities are dropping entry and teaching standards to drive enrolments, with one former university vice-chancellor claiming that many of these students only study in Australia in order to gain permanent residency:
*Cash-hungry universities are offering more places to fee-paying foreigners than to local students in 64 courses nationally, data obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail reveals…
The Courier-Mail can reveal that overseas students have taken 82.4 per cent of places in information technology courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and nearly two-thirds of IT places at James Cook University (JCU) and the University of Southern Queensland.
At the prestigious University of Queensland, which pockets $250 million a year selling places to Chinese students, foreigners outnumber local students in IT and management and commerce courses…
International education is a $22 billion business for Australian universities…
Foreigners, who are charged $15,000 to $33,000 for a basic bachelor degree, make up a third of the 1.5 million students enrolled in Australian universities…
*CIS Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz, a former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth, said foreign students flock to courses likely to lead to jobs and permanent residency, such as IT and management.
“Permanent residency is one of the main motivations to study in Australia,’’ he said.
“If suddenly permanent residency was given to people who study poetry, it’s likely they’d all be doing poetry.”
Australia’s education industry is now an integral part of the immigration system – effectively a way to purchase backdoor working rights and permanent residency to Australia.
In turn, the education industry has abandoned the pursuit of academic excellence and instead morphed into giant rent-seeking business focussed on pushing through as many students as possible in order to maximise fees and profit.
Australia’s policymakers must put a firm leash around the education industry, starting with removing the link between international students gaining working rights and permanent residency.
The education industry must be made to compete on quality and value alone and not be allowed to profit from cratering standards and acting as middle-men to foreigners pursuing backdoor migration.
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.
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