Unlimited work for foreign students carries risks

The move follows a similar move by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last May following lobbying from the hotel industry. At the time, he announced that overseas students in Australia would be able to work unlimited hours in hospitality and tourism, as well as in agriculture, elderly care and disabled care.

The most recent easing decision, which was discussed by the national cabinet on Thursday, will extend it to other “affected sectors”.

“Damaged reputation”

Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said he feared the move would further damage “Australia’s already damaged reputation as a welcoming study destination country.”

“It is going to be unfair to both students and providers of quality education if these people can work unlimited hours while expecting to achieve a quality academic result,” he said. declared.

Under current rules, students can work as much as they want during study breaks, but are limited to 40 hours per fortnight when classes are in session.

Oscar Ong, president of the Council for International Students, said he fears that students are at risk of failing their classes and that many will come under intense pressure from families to work as much as possible. so that they can send money home.

“We will most likely see a tendency for international students to take this opportunity to be able to send money home, especially during times of coronavirus,” he said. “They will be more likely to work to support their families.”

Unscrupulous providers

Mr. Ong works as a tutor at the University of Adelaide, where he is working on a doctorate in mechanical engineering.

“At the end of the day, international students come to Australia to study. But if they start to relax their demands, the question is: are they here to study or to work? Maybe they should have a different visa.

Another main source said there was a high risk of unscrupulous suppliers becoming “visa factories” in a repeat of the Howard era, when there was an explosion of dubious colleges offering worthless qualifications so that students can obtain permanent residency.

“There are two key issues: one concerns the quality and integrity of the education system,” he said. “The second is the students. Sometimes they can be complicit in signing up for classes just so they can work.

“The challenges of monitoring progress and putting in place appropriate governance and monitoring systems are immense. “

Other critics say the move is just a “disguised work visa for the low-skilled” that plays a joke on the “genuine temporary entry” requirement.

They say it will keep wages low and make it easier to poach students by cheap, low-quality providers.

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