Australia has taken steps to address a loophole that allowed international students to quickly switch to more affordable educational providers upon arriving in the country. Government officials have indicated their intention to potentially prohibit high-risk institutions from recruiting international students. Additionally, there are plans to raise the minimum amount required for study visa eligibility.
Furthermore, institutions are no longer permitted to issue concurrent confirmations of enrollment (CoE), which allowed students to undertake extra courses alongside their main study program. Reports have emerged suggesting that certain unscrupulous educational providers were exploiting this policy to encourage students to transfer to different institutions before the standard waiting period.
Typically, students were allowed to change institutions after six months, but this loophole enabled them to do so much sooner. According to the government, there has been a significant increase in the use of the concurrent enrollment option in 2023. In the first half of the year, approximately 17,000 concurrent enrollments were recorded, in contrast to around 10,500 for the same period combined in 2019 and 2022.
This issue has garnered attention through various government reviews and parliamentary inquiries, with onshore overseas agents and vocational colleges being implicated. As per the revised policy, ‘second’ educational providers will be restricted from enrolling students before they have completed six months in their primary course.
The government is particularly concerned about the visa refusal rates of over 200 providers, which currently exceed 50 percent. To address financial challenges faced by some students in covering their living expenses in Australia, the required amount of funds for visa approval is set to increase by 17% to AUS $24,505.
Furthermore, the government intends to explore additional measures aimed at enhancing the integrity of the international education system.