A Department of Immigration and Border Protection social media campaign begins this week to educate overseas students studying in Australia about visa conditions and the possible impacts of changing course.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash is concerned that a perception exists within the international student community that it is acceptable student behaviour to change or downgrade courses from a streamlined visa processing [SVP] eligible to a non-SVP eligible provider soon after their arrival in Australia.
‘Students who engage in this type of behaviour are likely to be in breach of their visa conditions and may, as a result, be subject to visa cancellation,’ Minister Cash said.
‘Although only a small percentage of students have breached their visa conditions, the government wants to send a strong message to both students and education providers.’
Minister Cash said the department was making constructive use of its social media platforms and website to raise awareness among the international student community about the possible impact of their decision to change courses after arriving in Australia.
‘This education campaign will include regular updates on the migration blog, FAQs and will present a range of relevant scenarios so students can evaluate the correct action to take for their circumstances,’ Minister Cash said.
‘In addition to the education campaign, the department is also directly engaging with students who have arrived under SVP and then changed to a non-SVP eligible course.
‘These students can expect an advice letter and will be given an opportunity to explain their circumstances,’ Minister Cash said.
Participating education providers are also required to put in place strategies to minimise incentives for students to arrive under the SVP arrangements with the aim of quickly transferring out of or downgrading their course.
Streamlined visa processing arrangements for eligible students have been operating since 24 March 2012.