New steps taken to safeguard international students
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > New steps taken by Federal Government to strengthen international education

New steps taken by Federal Government to strengthen international education

by Freya Lucas

October 04, 2023

The Federal Government has announced the next steps that it will take to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s international education sector and better protect students.


These steps are relevant to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector given the high number of international students who pursue qualifications in early childhood education and care. 


The actions have been designed to “tackle serious integrity issues” in the international education sector as identified in the Rapid Review into the Exploitation of Australia’s Visa System (Nixon Review).


As part of its response to the Nixon Review, the Government will build risk indicators across the international education system which will inform a monitoring framework that will drive targeted compliance by education regulators, along with increased monitoring of student attendance.


The Government will also amend the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) to strengthen the existing fit and proper provider test, which will strengthen the standards required to gain and hold provider registration and prevent cross-ownership of businesses between education providers and education agents.


Agent commissions on student transfers between providers in Australia will be prohibited to remove incentives for agents and providers to ‘poach’ students, and providers will be given greater access to agent performance data such as student completion rates and visa rejection rates. These benchmarks will help providers choose quality education agents as partners.


The above actions build on changes previously announced by the Government in August, which have been designed to remove a loophole used to move students who had been in the country less than six months to new providers to facilitate work instead of study.


“International students are back, but so are the shonks seeking to exploit them and undermine our international education system,” said Federal Education Minister Jason Clare. “That’s why we are acting.”


The Government is expected to outline further measures to crack down on unscrupulous players in the international education sector in the next few days, with Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil saying 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.”

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