A crackdown on the international education industry by the Federal and State Government will weed out the education providers of dubious integrity and stop exploitation, according to industry insiders of Greek background.

In addition to the Government’s decision to revamp Australia’s skilled migration program, the Victorian Education and Training Regulator, VRQA, are completing various audits, including a Financial Health Assessment of VET providers that deliver courses to overseas students.

“There’s been a big shake up in the industry,” says Anastasia Maranzano, managing director of The Institute of Hair and Aesthetics (TIHA).

“All providers had to submit paperwork to justify why we should keep our CRICOS (international licence), and there have been heaps of international providers that have had to shut down for being shonky… They’ve obviously been pocketing students’ fees.”

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans last week unveiled a new policy that will axe the Migration Occupations on Demand List, which lists 106 occupations in demand used to assess General Skilled Migration applicants.

The list will be replaced by a new Skilled occupations list (SOL), which is expected to favour professionals with university degrees who are sponsored by employers and drop skills such as hospitality and hairdressing.

Therefore colleges specialising in areas on the previous list will no longer be able to offer international students a pathway to permanent residency.

“The changes will finally stop exploitation of students by rogue colleges,” said Migration Lawyer Peter Vlahos.

“In the last few years rogue colleges have been springing up like 7/11s and many have gone bust, and students have lost their money… or they’ve brought students in without examining their background to see whether they are appropriate to do the course…How can you justify a system that has 12,000 hairdressers on its books waiting for Permanent Residency?”

Mr Vlahos also went on to say that, “most of the colleges that have come under scrutiniy have been run by similar nationalities, such as colleges run by Indians exploiting Indian students.”

Ms Maranzano believes the new policy is necessary to crack down on dodgy operators, yet acknowledges that it will hurt genuine institutions.

She says TIHA that has a 70 to 30 ratio of local to international students so it will not impact on her ‘in-house’ institute. Yet another facet of the business involves assessing hairdressers overseas so that they can obtain skilled migration to Australia.

“That facet of the business will be extremely affected and already overseas trips have started slowing down,” she said.

“But I’m just a small ATO, what can I do about it?”

In contrast, Peter Jasonides, owner of ITHEA institute believes that the policy to be introduced mid year will have a positive impact on his institution. ITHEA courses include, children’s services, community welfare, automotive and business which were on the Migration Occupations on Demand list, and Mr. Jasonides does not believe enrolments will decrease.

“It will encourage genuine enrolments,” he said. “We already go through vigorous testing with students to ascertain if they are genuine about doing their course, or if they are doing it for other reasons, such as residency. If we ascertain that, we just don’t enrol them.”

Mr. Vlahos encourages the Government to go the next step of developing an Education Ombudsman “with real teeth” that has the power to close or take over the administrator of a badly run college before it shuts down.

“I think its something the government should really consider before we get students walking the streets and screaming that they’ve lost their money and their futures as it happened last year with Meridian College.”