International students exploited by unethical agents in Australia

An inquiry set up by the Australian Govt. has provided 10 recommendations to regulate migration and education agents. The inquiry sheds light on the lack of accountability for education agents in Australia. This often leads to the exploitation of international students at the hands of unethical education agents.

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration began in March 2018. The intention of the committee was to explore the efficiency of the current regulations of education and migration agents in Australia. The committee submitted a 138-page report in February which recommended establishing an education agent register. The committee also recommended putting more rigorous checks for the qualification of an agent. It also recommended establishing a sanction system for agents who are non-compliant.

The first page of the report stated that there were loopholes in the current Australian immigration system. These loopholes are often exploited by organized crime and illegal labour-hire companies.

One of the illegal practices followed by unethical education agents was making false promises to international students. There have been cases where foreign students were told that a certain course was a route to PR when it was not.

There have also been cases where education agents have advised people to apply for a Student Visa to buy time. Such people were then able to look for a family or find a job in Australia. There have been several instances where education agents have provided unregistered immigration advice.

It is illegal for education agents to provide migration advice in Australia, as per SBS News. They can only do so if they are also a registered Migration Agent with the MARA (Migration Agents Registration Authority).

However, it has been found that education agents often lodge student visa applications for overseas students. It has also been found that they also lodge employment and PR visas for these students once they complete their education.

The report also stated that the Dept. of Home Affairs has not sufficiently regulated education agents.

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