Wednesday the 29th January 2014
Volume 282

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Today we cover the threat letters being sent out in their thousands to international students. 


DIBP threat letters causing mass panic    
Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman holding coffee cup with STRESS written.
The DIBP Breach of Student Visa Condition letters are causing significant harm to students

Potentially thousands of international student are in line to receive one of the Immigrations Departments (DIBP) "Please explain letters" letters regarding a breach of Condition 8516 on their student visas.


One education provider reports of being inundated by students in a panic over the letters sent out by the DIBP. The letters are clearly designed to instill fear in students with the threat of visa cancellation imminent if the DIBP is not satisfied with individual student responses.


The tone of these letters are causing great concern within certain education providers who are not listed for Streamline Visa Processing (SVP) who have thousands of international students transferring to their higher education degrees from providers who are SVP listed.


Stephen Nagle the Director of Holmes Institute Sydney, is greatly concerned about the manner these letters have been sent out to many of his students. "I disagree with the Department of Immigration's strategy to send intention to cancel visas retrospectively."


He thinks 8516 is a violation of the students rights as consumers and wants to know "Who will pay the refund of tuition fees that the students have paid? Who will give them credit for the subjects completed? How can immigration apply this condition on students retrospectively?"


It is a valid point for many of the students who are receiving these letters have nearly completed their Bachelor degree with only a semester or two to go. Now they are being told after such a long time has past that they are in breach of Condition 8516. Most do not know how to respond to the letters they have received and are under stress that their visa maybe cancelled.


The Australian newspaper first brought this issue into the public spotlight with their article on the 15th January insinuating some Rort is going on. Since this article and our own Volume 281 IMMIGRATION NEWS has spoken to a number of international students who currently suffering with significant stress.


All of them have spoken on the assurance of remaining anonymous as they do not want repercussions from the DIBP based upon their public comments. One said "I've never heard of SVP and now the immigration department is sending a letter which seems to be threatening visa cancellation simply because I have changed my school. What sort of country is this?"


Another student commented "I only have two semesters to complete my degree and I received this letter from immigration, now I can't even sleep at night or know what to tell my parents".


When international students arrive in Australia to study they must stay with the education provider for at least 6 months. After this time frame has elapsed they are free to change their providers and normally do not need to change their student visa unless they change to a different level of education, such as Degree to Vocational Diploma or Certificate courses.


Now with the SVP arrangements in play it seems there may be a drive from the SVP listed providers to complain to the DIBP that they are loosing students to the non-SVP providers. It is possible they have placed pressure on the DIBP to take some action to stop loosing their international students.


However it may well be that the real losers in this tug of war on international students may well be the Australian economy. Our national reputation will be tarnished in the overseas student markets if thousands of visa cancellation actually do take place.


Tomorrow we will cover a special edition of IMMIGRATION NEWS explaining what may what constitutes a breach of 8516 and what is the best strategy to take if the DIBP plans to cancel your visa.


To read more about the controversy surrounding the SVP read these previous news publications reported in The Australian;

16th November 2011

8th May 2013

20th November 2013

25th November 2103


Karl Konrad
Karl Konrad
I have to wonder if the Minister is aware of the damage he is causing to the international student market worth billions of dollars to the Australian community.

We simply can't afford to be seen as a country prepared to let out a pack of Dobberman's to round up a few stray sheep.

Sending out threatening letters of cancellation upon the these poor strays is going to cause stress and worse to legitimate international students doing the right thing by completing their degrees.

Who cares if they have moved to another education provider after they arrived? It is not as if they are out there committing armed robberies or something. Let them have the right to choose another education provider as any any Australian has in a free democratic society.

The madness of the content of these letters is incomprehensible and I thought the days of the Labour government sabotaging our international student sector were gone and dusted, now I'm not so sure.

Tomorrow we will expand of Condition 8516 means and perhaps what you should do if you get one of these letters.


Karl Konrad 



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