Australian universities ban Indian students from 6 states, UT to keep fraud visas out

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMay 26, 2023 | 10:28

Australian universities ban Indian students from 6 states, UT to keep fraud visas out

Some Australia universities are restricting applications from certain Indian states. Representative Photo

Several Australian universities have temporarily banned applications from certain Indian states over visa fraud issues. Federation University and Western Sydney University have instructed education agents to stop recruiting students hailing from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

The instructions were made on Friday, May 26. Federation University had also written in a letter to education agents on May 19 stating that there has been a significant increase in visa applications from some Indian regions being rejected by the Department of Home Affairs over non-genuine intentions. 

We hoped this would prove to be a short-term issue [but] it is now clear there is a trend emerging.
- Letter read (The Sydney Morning Herald)

The move comes as the visa rejection rate for Indian applications to Australian universities reached a 10-year high, with nearly 25% categorised as non-genuine or fraudulent. The ban is effective immediately and is supposed to remain for at least two months. 

This development comes on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Australia. The two countries have inked a deal to boost migration, education and skills exchange. 

Not the only universities

  • According to reports by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Victoria University, Edith Cowan University, the University of Wollongong, Torrens University, and Southern Cross University had restricted applications from certain Indian regions earlier this year. 
  • In February, Edith Cowan University banned applications from Punjab and Haryana. 
  • In March, Victoria University stepped up restrictions on applications from eight Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The University of Wollongong added conditions on its "genuine temporary entrant" test for students from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nigeria, and "other countries". 

The reason

  • Universities and the Australian government believe people from certain Indian regions are using education as a backdoor to immigration. 
  • The visa applications of students from certain Indian regions are being rejected by the Australian immigration department even after being accepted into a university because the applicants aren't able to prove they are genuinely coming to the country for studies.
  • Many of the applicants have been observed to have dropped out of universities to pursue work. 

Why are universities banning applicants?

Restricting non-genuine applicants seems to be the task of the immigration department, then why are the universities also putting up restrictions? 

  • According to reports, universities are concerned that the high rate of visa rejections despite university admits will force the country's Home Affairs department to reduce their ability to fast-track genuine student visa applications. 
  • The surge in non-genuine applications to study has prompted the Australian Department of Education to look into potential misconduct in the international education sector. 

How will it impact students?

  • It is likely that the new measures will impact even genuine applicants from the said Indian regions as well as other parts of India. However, applications to high-ranking universities in Australia are unlikely to be affected given that it is already difficult to get admitted into the said universities.
  • Restrictions on international students or more scrutiny of their applications will also impact Australian universities that are dependent on foreign student fees, which are generally higher than domestic ones. 
  • On the other hand, Australia is making various changes to its immigration system, which has both pros and cons for study-abroad aspirants and those looking to work in the country. 
  • Australia is looking into easing the visa process for skilled workers by doing away with the points test. They are also considering"automatic" temporary graduate visas for those who complete their studies in the country. Both of these decisions can be beneficial for those planning to work and/or study in Australia. 
Last updated: May 26, 2023 | 11:08
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