Crackdown on dodgy education agents, private college owners and international students

The government will prohibit agent commissions on student transfers between providers in Australia.

In a move to safeguard the integrity of Australia’s international education sector and protect students, the federal government has announced a series of measures aimed at tackling critical issues identified in the Nixon Review into the Exploitation of Australia’s Visa System.

These actions are meant to send a strong message that Australia will not tolerate exploitation or manipulation within the international education and student visa systems.

One of the key initiatives in response to the Nixon Review is the establishment of risk indicators across the international education system. These indicators will form the basis of a robust monitoring framework designed to drive targeted compliance efforts by education regulators.

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Additionally, the government will increase the monitoring of student attendance to ensure that students are receiving the educational experience they signed up for.

Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, declared that this is the beginning of a series of announcements aimed at restoring integrity to international education and the migration system, making it clear that “the party is over” for those who exploit the system.

Image: Clare O’Neil MP (Source: Twitter)

“This is the first of many announcements this week to restore integrity to international education and to our migration system.

“The party is over, the rorts and loopholes that have plagued this system will be shut down.”

said Minister O’Neil

To fortify the standards required to gain and maintain provider registration, the government will amend the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act). This amendment will serve to prevent cross-ownership of businesses between education providers and education agents, reinforcing the separation between these entities.

It underscores the government’s commitment to fostering a transparent and accountable education ecosystem.

Agent Commissions Prohibition:
A new rule to curb unscrupulous practices will be introduced, in which the government will prohibit agent commissions on student transfers between providers in Australia. This step aims to eliminate incentives for agents and providers to engage in opportunistic practices that could harm students’ educational experiences. It ensures that students’ best interests remain paramount.

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Minister for Education, Jason Clare, emphasised the importance of protecting international students and maintaining the high standards of Australian education.

He stated,

“International students are back, but so are the shonks seeking to exploit them and undermine our international education system.

“That’s why we are acting.

“The Government will outline further measures to crack down on dodgy and unscrupulous players in the international education sector in the next few days.”

Australia's Minister for Education Jason Clare (Source: Twitter)
Australia’s Minister for Education Jason Clare (Source: Twitter)

“The Nixon Review identified the need to increase monitoring and compliance in the international education sector and the Government is responding. 

“Students from around the world choose to come here first and foremost for the high-quality education we offer.”

added Minister Clare.

The government is empowering education providers with greater access to agent performance data, including student completion rates and visa rejection rates. These benchmarks will assist providers in making informed decisions when choosing education agents as partners. This increased transparency will help maintain high-quality partnerships within the sector.

Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, highlighted that student welfare is a top priority, and the changes will better enforce ethical standards and ensure high-quality education.

“These changes will better enforce higher ethical standards and ensure high quality education.”

Building on prior changes, the government has acted to close a significant loophole that allowed the transfer of students who had been in the country for less than six months to new providers for work purposes rather than study. This action aligns with the government’s commitment to preserving the integrity of the international education system.

These measures are in line with the government’s commitment to a robust, ethical, and accountable international education sector, emphasising that the well-being and quality of education for international students are of paramount importance. Further announcements are expected in the coming days, signalling the government’s determination to address challenges in the sector comprehensively.

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