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Ban onshore representation fee & safe guard the Australian Education Industry 

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AAERI (Association of Australian Education Representative in India) is the peak body of 'India based' official representatives of Australian Universities. Setup in 1996, it is now in its 20th year of operation. Today at AAERI, we have 90+ members with 400 offices in India and holding 95% market share for the students going to Australia. All these members have undergone third party due diligence via Integra (world check) and their counselors are EATC, Australia certified.  All members have direct representation agreements with at-least one University or TAFE. 

 It is estimated that in a year, approximately 27,000 fresh student visas are issued by the Australian High commission, New Delhi. On the face value they are Genuine Students who intend to study & complete their course at a specific Education Provider. As per the following report  “The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has also identified around 1,000 ‘course-hopping’ international students, who arrived using the Streamlined Visa Process (SVP), but later illegally moved to unaccredited and often cheaper colleges. It is also quoted that "in addition, the student visa cancellations have doubled from 1978 in 2012 to 7,061 in 2013”.  

 In a recent article  explaining ‘course-hopping’, it states that: “Often with the countries they’re coming from, if they had applied for the visa offshore for that vocational college, they would not have been accepted.”

 This proves the fact that course hopping, also known as "waka jumping" is a serious problem. Not only the huge offshore marketing investment and subsequent financial returns of serious Australian Education Providers are being lost, but also serious Education Agents who recruited the student offshore are losing their reputations and income as a result of non-genuine student actions for which they have no control. 

AAERI is of the view that such practices are attracting non-genuine students who initially opt for a reputable Education Provider to avail their course and institution specific visa and on arrival or within a few weeks of entering the Australian migration zone they change to another Education Provider, which they would not have been issued a visa for if they applied for this institution in their home country.

 The new SSVF system provides an equal playing field for the Education providers, we believe that unless the ESOS act prohibits the payment of commission to onshore agents, this loophole will continue to be abused in Australia. There are the other countries such as USA which prohibits the payment of commission to onshore agents as per the US Education act. 

According to the US’s 1992 Higher Education Act

 [An] institution will not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in ensuring enrolments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance, except that this paragraph shall not apply to the recruitment of foreign students residing in foreign countries who are not eligible to receive federal student assistance. (20 USC §1094(a)(20))

 In addition, there are reports that the National code Part D, Standard 7, will be amended soon. This will make it easier for onshore students to move students without waiting for six months of the principal program. 

 Technically, a commission to an off shore agent is paid not only for marketing but also to help the student in applying for visa. Plus the offshore agent does the due diligence for meeting the Genuine temporary requirements. Whereas an onshore agent encourage the student to change the Education provider and has no role when it comes to visa application or due diligence. The services offered by an offshore agent is completely different from an onshore agent and does not justify the commission payment of an onshore agent. 

 A Genuine International Student and a Genuine Temporary Entrant is an international student who firstly conducts serious research, takes appropriate professional advice and ultimately selects their international study program at a specific Education Provider and completes the course at the same Education Provider. In today's World, with the help of technology & communication such genuine international students can find the minutest detail about a particular course and Education Provider before taking a final decision. 

The above amendment will not only attract the genuine students but will also safeguard the Australian Education Export Industry – one of the largest and most prospective industries in Australia.

 Rahul A Gandhi

President - AAERI

www.aaeri.in  

 



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