International students in Australia are shifting to vocational courses

International students moving to Australia are shifting to vocational or private colleges to access unlimited working hours, critics have warned them.

As per the President of agent association AAERI, Ravi Lochan Singh said that the onshore migration agents have encouraged the practise of shifting to vocational courses. For universities in Australia, this switching has become a major concern for student retention.

Ravi added that offshore agents have been impacted by this switch as they are denied their commissions. Further, Peter Chesworth, deputy chief executive of an Australian university, has declared that there are multiple reasons that lead to the changing of courses. These decisions include the student’s will to shift their courses, also aligning them with their career interests.

Australia removed the 40-hour fortnightly work limit last year in January. This law was removed to fulfil the growing skill shortage demand, by allowing international students to work. However, some criticised that demand, saying that calling it might damage the country’s reputation and become a distraction for students.

Some private, non-profit colleges in Australia have turned a blind eye to student’s non-attendance and charged low fees. Last year, the Australian government reinstated the cap and increased the weekly working hours to 48.

The universities in Australia are supporting the government’s decision, as they also believe that students should obtain the full benefits of world-class education. Many, including AAERI, believe that lifting the working hour cap is a distraction for students, so it is better to limit the working hours for international students. In the Department of Skills and Employment’s discussion paper, ‘ESOS Review 2022’, there are a number of recommendations for course transfer.

As per the recommendation of the universities, there should be retention of a six-month restrictive period for principal courses. Further, they can coordinate with the Department of Home Affairs on the decision to revise the Simplified Student Visa Framework.

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