Visa Capping Bill Proposals
Written by: IEAA Secretariat, 10 Jun 2010
IEAA Media Release:
Visa Capping Bill Proposals a Body Blow to Students and the Education Sector
The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) today called on the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Community Affairs to urgently clarify the Government’s apparent proposed legislation to allow for the capping of international student visas.
The proposals are currently before the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Australian Parliament.
The proposed provisions appear to allow the Government, through the Minister for Immigration and Community Affairs to limit at will the number of temporary visas granted in any given year to international students or working holiday makers or temporary workers brought in by employers under the 457‐visa scheme.
"They are another body blow to an already embattled international education sector and to international students”, said IEAA Executive Director Dennis Murray.
Murray claimed, “the proposals will harm Australia’s reputation by causing further uncertainty about whether Australia is a country that welcomes international students.
“They also throw into serious disarray the long term planning of both public and private education institutions whose require a degree of certainty about their ability to maintain or grow numbers of international students.
“The education sector would be seriously alarmed if the Bill opened the way for the current or a future Immigration Minister to cap and terminate visa applications for spur of the moment political reasons, or because they were lodged by nationals of a particular country.
“Moreover, the very notion of a cap appears directly contrary of other efforts by the Government, through Austrade, to market and promote Australian education internationally.
“Austrade is required to promote Australia as a high quality, preferred study destination, and this proposal does everything to undermine that”, said Murray. “The Government doesn’t seem to understand that a whole‐of‐government approach to the education sector is essential”.
“The education sector is doubly aggrieved by this proposal by DIAC when Government called an industry consultation meeting in Canberra two weeks ago and the proposed change was not even mentioned. This shows serious bad faith towards the education sector. The Government’s rhetoric about consulting industry simply cannot be believed”, Murray said.
“Most worrying”, said Murray “are reports of students being unnecessarily anxious about whether they can remain in Australia on their current visas, to the point where some students’ physical and mental well appears to be under threat. The Prime Minister needs to address this as a matter of urgency and explain the reasons behind the proposal and the manner in which he sees it being implemented now and in the future”.
“In these circumstances of deep disquiet we request that the Government delay the rushed passage of the proposal and to provide adequate time for its consideration by the Parliament, the education sector and the wider community”.
CONTACT: Dennis Murray, Executive Director IEAA, email@example.com, tel : 0428 579 305