Sunday the 2nd February 2014
Volume 284

 Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Dear subscribers, 


Welcome to the latest edition of IMMIGRATION NEWS and   the new subscribers. IMMIGRATION NEWS is proudly sponsored by Australian Immigration Law Services. For new readers you can subscribe using the link on the right hand side. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to any of your friends.


Today in 'A Sunday Story' Tanya Das interviews the DIrector of Holmes Institute and the fallout after the 8516 threat letters we covered this week. 


Stephen F Nagle: Director, Holmes Institute
Some reactions to the DIBP threat letters

-Reporting: Tanaya Das


It's been a hard few years for the education sector in Australia; domestic as well as international, from the Government cuts to Universities to reports of international students being treated unfairly and in some cases allegedly copping racial abuse.


The new government's statements that they planned to improve and advance the international education sector was seen as an intention towards giving reforms a high priority. Education minister Christopher Pyne's decision to award streamline visa status to high quality, non-university education providers was seen as a step in the right direction.


However, only a few of the numerous education providers were given the coveted Stream-line Visa Providers (SVP) status. Phil Honeywood, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia has stated in an article in the Guardian "You haven't had to have as much paperwork, you've been judged as having a low level risk ... but it's meant that other key players have been left out of the loop, including some high-quality private colleges and also some public TAFEs."


It seems that in most cases the $15 billion Australian international education industry is suspended between the government's need to develop and sustain it and the Immigration trying to limit the number of non-genuine students. Stephen F Nagle, the director of Holmes Institute says "Governments do not understand the export education market well. There is always a conflict between the education department, which wants to encourage international students to come to Australia, and the immigration department, which wants to keep them out."


The latest in the string of student visa crackdown measures are letters that are being sent to students who have moved from Stream-line Visa Providers (SVP) to non SVP providers. From March 2012, SVP ensured that prospective students faced a less arduous application process if they provided confirmation of enrolment from a participating university in Australia at bachelor, masters or doctoral degree level. Such applications were treated as though they were a lower migration risk, regardless of their country of origin.


In letters issued recently to a number of students they have been informed that they are in breach of their student visa condition 8516 if they are continuing to pursue the same qualifications but have moved education providers from an SVP to a non SVP provider. This breach only applies to students from lower assessment level countries; that is the nations whose citizens Australia deems as likely to overstay their visas.


A Korean student on condition of anonymity tells us "In my opinion, being at a Uni doesn't automatically mean you get better education, I had such a hard time with Management accounting at a University but once I moved to Holmes Institute, the teacher was great and I passed the subject with flying colours. SVP or not, university or a college all that matters is the teacher, if a teacher can teach the subject right and you learn what you're meant to who cares where you get your degree or diploma from? In my opinion, it's unfair that since I am from a higher assessment level country I won't be penalized for changing course providers and someone else from another country is being penalized. Isn't that discriminatory? "


Stephen Nagle says "Quality is not taken into account when giving SVP status to non-university providers. Only immigration statistics are taken into account. For providers who have dealt in risky markets like the Indian Subcontinent, they have higher rates of visa rejection than those who do not deal in these markets. They do not, therefore, qualify for SVP. We are asking the DIBP to take educational quality and financial security into account when approving institutions for SVP. Educational quality varies between different universities and colleges. Students may choose to study at private HEPs because of low numbers in classes and central city locations. I personally believe that the quality of our degrees is equivalent or better than most second and third tier universities."


Another student pursuing his bachelor's degree in IT who has recently received one of these letters says "As a student international or not an individual can have many reasons to change their education provider or even their course of study, to always assume that every action is to circumvent Australian Immigration regulations is far from being fair to genuine students and frankly is just ridiculous. Why different rules for students coming from different countries. Is this some kind of bias based on education provider? I have my exams in a couple of weeks and now I am running from pillar to post making sense of this letter, I mean seriously what should I concentrate on, my visa or my actual assignments"


Mr Nagle thinks "Students change for many different reasons. Remember, they are booking into an institution sight unseen. When they arrive in Australia, the location, the degree of difficulty, the other students, the weather, the student counsellor, the lecturer's accent and the tutor's manners - anything can make a student happy or unhappy. Australia has consumer protection laws for students, encapsulated in Standard 7 of the National Code (ESOS Act). This standard gives the student the right to change courses after 6 months of their principal course enrolled from overseas. This is the student's right, to change courses - within the same sector!"


An ex-international student from India states "Such a big deal is made of alleged student visa breaches that as a student one just gets tired of keeping on top these useless crack downs. I mean India has the second largest English speaking population in the world, Australian weather is similar to our sub-tropical weather and the colleges and universities from Australia are marketing themselves massively in India. Every University in Australia visits Indian Education fairs held in every major city in the sub-continent and then Immigration is surprised by the number to students that come here? Seriously? Just let the students study in peace maybe?!"


Stephen Nagle emphatically agrees that the constant scrutiny and dramatic crackdowns takes away from the actual purpose of this multi-billion dollar industry, which is to provide education "There is an over-concentration on the visa story with detrimental effects on the primary purpose of coming to Australia - i.e. to study!!"


These letters are being sent to students who have changed courses months and in some cases over a year ago and they are being told that the breach and resulting penalties may be retrospectively imposed, which has resulted in anxiety for students and Mr Nagle calls the measure "Absolutely unfair."



Karl Konrad
Karl Konrad
The 8516 threat letters saga may die down if the DIBP can resist from sending any similar letters to international students or actually start cancelling visas.

I think Tony Abbot needs to take a different approach to students than the one directed towards boat people.

Is he going to round up the wayward international students and set them off into the sunset in these orange floating bubble, time will tell.


Karl Konrad 



Suite 1, Level 1

36 Carrington Street

Sydney NSW 2000


You can get IMMIGRATION NEWS fast by liking the AILS Facebook page


You can subscribe by clicking on the link at the top right hand corner.


proudly sponsors IMMIGRATION NEWS.

Follow us now on Facebook!

For over 15 years our professional firm has provided tens of thousands of people advice and practical solutions to all migration matters. 

Our team specialise in skilled migration, student visas, parent visas and Employer sponsored visas such as ENS, RSMS and 457. 

We also look after applicants who have been refused their visas and need representation to the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).







Jee Eun Han

   Executive Manager

           Jee Eun Han

Australian Immigration Law Services




Karl Konrad

    Managing Director

          Karl Konrad

Australian Immigration Law Services





Proudly sponsored by:

Australian Immigration Law Services  

phone: 61 2 92791991 | fax: 61 2 9279 1994
email: | website: 

AILS Facebook 


 Level 1, 36 Carrington Street Sydney NSW 2000

Disclaimer and Copyright

IMMIGRATION NEWS is intended to provide general information on migration issues and does not constitute legal advice and no responsibility is accepted by IMMIGRATION NEWS PTY LTD (ACN:165 846 980) for the accuracy of material appearing in IMMIGRATION NEWS.


People seeking advice on migration law should seek advice from a registered migration agent
 and you should be aware that the law can change tomorrow without notice so you have the responsibility to keep up to date.