The Australian government is set to crack down on visa fraud by foreign students and those that assist them in getting the necessary visas to study in Australia. The visa fraud that the government is targeting relates to whether prospective students have sufficient financial reserves to support them through the course of their studies.
It is expected that prospective students will need at least AUD 12,000 for living expenses for each year they intend to study plus any applicable tuition fees.
The main targets of this crackdown are going to be prospective students from India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan. The crackdown is to be launched immediately. In essence, the crackdown means that applications from prospective students from any of the listed countries are going to be subject to enhanced scrutiny and have restrictions placed on their ability to lodge applications online, according to Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
Applications by prospective students has increased by some 20% over the last 12 months and some 28,000 applications were rejected.
The most obvious signs of potential fraud are, apparently, large one-off transfers of cash to the bank account of the prospective student and enrollment in lesser known institutions. The government has been unequivocal in stating that legitimate students need not fear any additional scrutiny of their applications. A legitimate application will still be approved irrespective of where the applicant comes from.
The international student industry in Australia is worth some AUD 15.5 billion per year.
I wonder how much the increased scrutiny will impact the bottom line?