Immigration authorities in Australia have cancelled almost 11,000 student visas in just 12 months after discovering the visas were not being used by students.
New figures show that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection cancelled 10,949 student visas between the start of July last year and the end of June this year – an increase of more than a third since the previous corresponding period.
The new figures come as the Australian government prepares to put the finishing touches to a new streamlined, online, visa-processing framework. It is hoped that the scheme, which will reduce the number of student visa subclasses from eight to two, will be ready to be launched by the middle of next year.
Writing in The Australian newspaper earlier this week, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, explained: “The SSVF (simplified student visa framework) will mean a broader, simpler, fairer framework for both international students and Australian education providers. It will benefit Australia’s international education sector through reduced red tape, a visa framework that is simpler to navigate and a more targeted approach to immigration integrity.”
The visa cancellation figures, which were obtained by not-for-profit advisers to Australian universities Higher Ed Services, reveal that Chinese students had the biggest number of student visa cancellations, with 1,793 cancelled in the past 12 months. More than 1,160 South Korean students had their visas cancelled, followed in number by India, Vietnam and Thailand.
The total number of student visas issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in this period rose by 2 per cent, from 292,060 to 299,540.