The Australian Financial Review scooped a story over the weekend, reporting that around 60 “low risk”” education providers are in line to be able to offer students the SVP arrangements. The article cites a draft report circulated byDIAC and a forum attended by institutions and government officials held in Sydney two weeks ago.
The report recommends that a select group of non-university providers posing low immigration risk be invited to opt in to the streamlined arrangements and outlines the manner in which such an extension would be implemented. The report suggests that the providers could be “identified assessing immigration risk data of visa applicants and visa holders in the past.”
While extending the SVP arrangements to non-universities may help to increase the competitiveness of Australian international education, the report goes on to say that not all education providers will have the capacity to meet the added reporting and monitoring requirements that come along with it.
Even with the necessary facilities to report and process, smaller providers will not be able to access the SVP arrangements. DIAC has been advised that institutions require a minimum of 400 student visa-holders over a period of a year for an appropriate threshold at which visa compliance data can be statistically meaningful.
During the Sydney forum, participants were warned not to speak to media about this change. Whether the report in The Australian Financial Review will have any impact on further consultation in the process is undetermined.
Interesting and some of the non-University providers seem to be in a huddle and possibly hoping that this will take them into another boom. They need to remember and observe that while SVP is helping the University sector, when it comes to vocational students and those seeking degrees at private providers, the students will find the GTE (I call it the ammunition in the hand of DIAC) more difficult to meet. How can they prove to the visa officers that the diploma that they do in Australia will justify the cost-benefit equation especially when the starting salary to diploma holders in their home country is going to be low. Also how will they even hope to recover some of the expenses when the PSW (Post Study Work) is currently restricted to University Degree students… PSW will help with some repayment of bank loans and will also get the students a much needed experience in Australia that will help with better jobs on return…
If Australia wants to turn around the Vocational Sector then the PSW has to be extended along with SVP and the focus of GTE interrogation has to change. I also believe that Australia actually doesn’t want the Vocational sector to really turn around as far as international student market is concerned. I may be being a pessimist but none of the indicators point in any other way… I want to be wrong… However seldom I am. The list of first round of invites from the PR expressions also confirm that the new occupations that will get migration seem to be non-vocationals.