It’s time to shut down the student visa rort

By Leith van Onselen

After a near doubling of international student arrivals over the past five years:

The Victorian Government last month called for a review of entry requirements into Australian universities after growing evidence had emerged that foreign students with poor English language proficiency are badly eroding education standards and placing undue strain on lecturers and university staff.

This was immediately followed by academics admitting to Fairfax that they had lowered teaching standards and passed failing international students in order to maintain the foreign student trade.

The international student association also called for greater regulation of overseas migration agents amid widespread cheating on English tests to gain access to Australian universities.

Last week, practising psychiatrist, Tanveer Ahmed, penned an article in The AFR claiming that international students “obtain degrees of limited value and are consigned to low-skilled work”:

Wages are depressed for the majority of low and semi-skilled workers…

Many international students also obtain degrees of limited value and are consigned to low-skilled work… they make up a large chunk of the service worker underclass. They are not captured in the unskilled category. A 2017 study by training company Hobsons found only 34 per cent of workplaces were willing to take a risk on international graduates.

Natives have the opportunity to take jobs that make use of their superior English, whereas low-skilled migrants compete against other migrants at the bottom end of the labour market.

Whereas over the weekend, The Australian’s Judith Sloan argued that the cost of Australia’s turbo-charged international student market probably outweighs the purported $36 billion of annual export earnings:

Let me run through some of the costs of international students that are often ignored — indeed, often denied. They include the impact on educational standards, the potential for international students to be exploited in the labour market, the real motivation of students to gain permanent residence, and the dubious practices of some ­migration agencies.

…let us look at the research undertaken by economist Gigi Foster, who was given access to the records of students, both local and international, at the University of South Australia and UTS. Note her research was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The question that Foster was trying to answer was: do more international students affect educational standards? What she found was that international students do consistently worse than local students but because students are marked according to the curve (in large courses, at least), international students do better when there are fewer local students in a course. This is because there are fewer local students to occupy the top end of the distribution of marks.

She also looked at tutorial performance and found that local students do worse in tutorials with more international students. Foster concludes that there is clear evidence of a dumbing down of courses because of poor language skills of international students…

We also know from the work of the Fair Work Ombudsman that there are many cases of underpayment of low-skill workers. Often these workers are on student visas and the maltreatment is perpetrated by businesses whose owners were also born overseas…

As MB has argued repeatedly, Australia’s universities have morphed from “higher learning” to “higher earning”, as evidenced by the massive explosion in full fee-paying foreign students:

Australia’s education system has become an integral part of the immigration industry and the ‘Big Australia’ population ponzi – effectively a way for foreigners to buy backdoor permanent residency and working rights.

Even the lobby group representing foreign students in Australia – the Council for International Students in Australia (CISA) – point blank admitted that students come here to migrate, not because of the quality of education on offer:

The Council for International Students in Australia said foreign potential students were attracted to Australia by the possibility of migrating here.

But Mr Dutton’s strong views on border policy and his statement that Australia should reduce its intake of migrants “where we believe it is in our national interest” would tip the balance for some would-be students…

The national president of CISA, Bijay Sapkota, said… “For people coming from low socio-economic backgrounds there has to be a value proposition. If they go home they will not get value. So there has to be a possibility of immigration.”

Three recent Australian reports (here, here and here) have similarly raised the alarm about the flood of international students and the degradation of standards, but have been attacked by the rent-seeking Universities Australia.

Dr Cameron Murray – an economics lecturer at the University of Queensland – also highlighted the problem in detail, which supports Judith Sloan’s arguments:

A thread on my experience:

1. 90% of students in my economics masters classes are international.
2. Half of them struggle with basic English
3. When I ask in tutorials why they are doing the degree, half tell me that they “need more points for their residency visa” (1/n)
4. They tell me they choose economics because they can do the maths but don’t need to understand anything or write anything.
5. I always set written essays or reports. Students tell me that they know other students are using paid ‘essay writing’ services to pass my class (2/n)
6. If half the class can’t understand English it brings down standards. It must—unless I fail half the class.
7. Think about the incentives—a casual lecturer who costs $25,000 fails 50 students paying $250,000. Change lecturer next year or reduce intake to keep standards? (3/n)
8. It is frustrating when top international students from foreign governments/central banks come to your class, then sit next to rich Chinese (almost always Chinese) who can’t understand a word and are there to buy a visa (4/n)
9. The evidence shows the effect on standards is real. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027277571200028310
None of this is a secret. That research is from 2011. Here’s an article from 2014: https://www.smh.com.au/education/academics-accuse-universities-of-addiction-to-international-students-and-their-cheating-20141112-11lbdi.html
10. Unfortunately, this reality conflicts with the widely believed myth that our immigration program brings in “high skilled” workers.
11. 350,000 international students paying $25,000+ per year to study is $9billion being pumped through our top dozen universities. (6/n)
12. Halving the number of international students would keep all the good students, boost standards for all, and remove the visa scams.
13. But this would remove $4.5billion per year of revenue to the universities. (7/n)
14. In sum, universities are being degraded so they can be used as a back-door immigration program, and no one at the senior levels of universities or major political parties want to change it.
15. It is nearly career suicide for younger academics to say anything about it (8/8)

I forgot to add that almost every student I failed or called out for plagiarism got second and third chances until they passed. After the first chance it is taken out of my hands to higher ups at the faculty…

There is nothing new in this thread. did a big investigation a few years ago. Nothing changed AFAIK. People are just used to the new reality. https://economics.com.au/2015/04/17/universities-corruption-and-standards-its-not-just-academic-anymore/

More here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/free-ride-past-language-barrier/news-story/9082a4d2234f019af2ddd1f68be73a8f  and here: https://economics.com.au/2011/03/16/are-we-going-easy-on-foreign-students-in-order-to-get-more-revenue/

The sad reality is that Australia’s universities are little more than giant rent-seeking businesses that clip the ticket on the deluge of foreign students arriving in the hope of transitioning to permanent residency. The end result has been the dumbing-down of standards and too many university graduates chasing too few professional jobs.

The universities love this set up as they get to maximise fees and profit, and privatise the gains from Australia’s immigration system. By contrast, the broader community wears the costs.

At the same time as Vice-chancellors’ pay has exploded to an average of $1 million on the back of the student flood, university students are stuck paying off expensive and increasingly worthless degrees, taxpayers are stuck writing-off unpayable debts, and the broader population is suffering under the never-ending population crush.

Policymakers must place a firm leash on the university sector, starting with removing the link between foreign students studying at university and gaining work visas and permanent residency. Australia’s universities must be forced to compete on quality and value alone, not as a backdoor pathway for immigration.

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Comments

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      Australia’s current education policy is trashing two mainstays which once contributed to making Australia a better place.

      It has trashed the value of a tertiary education because so many people are experiencing:-

      Second rate academic environments with large volumes of students with substandard comprehension of English and an assessment framework which has factored this in for all students – diminishing the value of the education for Australian students. Not long ago Australian university degrees were considered close to elite globally, with Australian students encouraged to think conceptually and encouraged to think for themselves.  Today we have a tertiary sector where far too many students are simply being fed the ‘right answer’ and then told to move on to the next question and to memorise the ‘right answer’ for that question.

      A plethora of meaningless courses which have been instituted to extract as many foreign dollars, from as many foreign students, as possible.  The only reason for many of these courses – the internet and marketing, the once were straight out vocational courses, generally into fields which didn’t even require any university attendance not that long ago [and where most of the people who will mentor graduates getting jobs in the field will not have the course which is now mandatory], and an insane array of half baked ‘pathway’ courses – is to provide an array of alternatives for foreign nationals to come to Australia, and an often larger array of courses designed to enable them to extend their stay, provided someone pays. .

      A whole university system which no longer revolves around providing education, but which revolves around making profit and financialising the demand for education, and which, although it is generally still funded by taxpayers, now seems populated by scions of the global capital elite, extracting the very top dollars personally, and quite deliberately channelling students into profit maximising (for the institution) outcomes.

      A completely trashed vocational education system which has become a privatised carcass being feasted on by the used car shonky shyster salespersons (backed by government funds) of the education sector and now delivers sweet FA value for that (large) section of Australian society which didn’t necessarily want a University education but did want a ticket to do a better job.

      The Immigration programme , which Australia has until recently been recognised as a global leader in getting it right, has been trashed by the deforming of the public education system becoming the prime conduit to access to Australia by quality of life aspirants from elsewhere.

      The above adds up to an utterly trashed economic narrative where all we are effectively doing is flooding the national economy with coolies for low paying part time jobs which will be lost in time once a major economic downturn appears on the radar of a society where only people over fifty have any idea what a recession looks like, and where those people (in general) have pissed up all the economic defences against that recession against the wall of ever higher house prices over the last 15 years.

      It is time to return (most of) the University system to a state where

      It is budget funded

      It provides courses for Australian students only (with only small numbers of foreign nationals)

      It provides courses based on principles and standards which are rigorous and exacting, in fields which the government and education authorities identify will be key knowledge areas of future Australia

      It has no inherent right to be the basis for a visa to Australia for anyone

      By all means allow a private system beyond that to continue to fleece whatever demand there is out there for whatever value the private interests add to whoever’s lives, and certainly that remaining privatised system should contribute to visa processing costs and security assessment requirements.

      But most Australian students will want a tertiary education which is meaningful and which contributes to the better economic future of Australia and the meaningful place in it these students will generally aspire to, and this is what Australia’s university system should be providing.

      Yes that will mean economic pain. But we are now at a point where either the richest generation in Australian history take the pain or visit it on their grandchildren. The default seems to be the latter

      • I’ve been telling prospective uni students to not bother going to university (and I’m saying this as a university lecturer). When I explain the reasons, Aussie students seem to get it, but international students (and their parents) are shocked. They truly, deeply believe that going to university is the ticket to a better life (rather than a ticket to a minimum wage job with huge debt).

        The disconnect between fantasy and reality is appalling and the universities are actively promoting the disconnect with a whole slew of shiny, colourful propaganda, full of beautiful, smiling people; aimed at foreign students. I find it immoral. Four years later, the poor kids are a few hundred thousand $ in the hole and driving an Uber; maybe then they’ll figure it out.

        I recently had an international student upset in my office because she’d reached the end of her “education” and was nearly one MILLION in debt (including tuition, accomodation & living expenses). She truly expected that she was going to progress on into academia. It fell on my shoulders to break it to her that it simply wasn’t going to happen. Her standard was far below average.

        That she (a very sub-par student) had even been allowed to get into her situation is just shameful. Universities have no concern about the long-term wellbeing of students, (despite all the “caring’ rhetoric and safe spaces), they just want bums in seats to make money.

      • And the nice defined benefit for university workers makes it too hard to pull the pin for many of them.

  1. Couldn’t the Victorian government set a foreign student cap? Say 20%. Surely when more than 1 in 5 students is from a NESB standards would be affected. That would mean ipso facto the best students would be admitted with the highest level of English.

    • They can certainly remove “the education state” from the number plates. As if that deters foreign “students”. Then they can charge the foreign “students” $40/day for a train ticket. They can also put a land tax on foreigners,

    • 20% bwahahahah.
      At major universities it is now over 40%. UNSW will probably be a MAJORITY international student university within 2 years.

    • You would think, as Australian tax-payer funded institutions, the Universities should be operated with a critical rule: no activity should negatively impact local students. So if it is known a higher percentage of foreign students reduces educational outcomes to local students (due to language issues, the need to drop standards / pass rates impacting credibility of degree), then no degree programme should be over said limit.

  2. strain on lecturers and university staff

    And not a massive strain on Aussie students and Aussie graduates?

    The immigration rate is now 291,000 per year!

    https://neoskosmos.com/en/129831/australia-immigration-levels-hit-record-highs-for-2018/

    No wonder the number of foreign “students” has doubled over the past 5 years. They do not go home. They just stay here for 10-20 years after doing a “degree”. They should all be deported within 12 months of graduating unless they get a $150k/year job (they hand back half of their salary to their boss, so it would actually be a $75k salary threshold)

    Tanveer is off the mark. Wages are depressed across the board. Foreign students come here, do an accounting degree and then put “I have worked as an accountant in Dubai” on the resume, even when they have not worked as an accountant anywhere, and then get hired instead of Aussie graduates.

  3. Overseas student visa grants for 1997-1998 were 108,827.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1516/OverseasStudents

    ‘In August 1998 the Government announced that, from July 1999, the points test used to assess skilled migrants for General Skilled Migration (GSM) (applicable to skilled migrants who are not sponsored by an employer) was modified to grant five additional points where an applicant obtained their diploma, trade or degree from an Australian educational institution, giving such applicants a competitive advantage over applicants who had not obtained their qualification in Australia. This change enhanced the ability of eligible former overseas students to migrate to Australia on a permanent basis and was seen as increasing Australia’s global competitiveness in attracting more overseas students and skilled migrants.[45]’

    ‘From July 2001 overseas students with key skills that were needed in the economy who successfully completed their course of study at an Australian institution, and met other general eligibility requirements, were able to make an onshore application for permanent residency through the Skilled-Independent (and related) visa categories of the GSM program (previously they had to leave Australia and apply offshore). Students were required to make their applications within six months of completing their Australian course. Unlike skilled migrants who applied offshore, former overseas students who made applications onshore were exempted from the requirement of obtaining work experience in their nominated occupation.[48]’

    ‘The drawing of a direct link between the overseas student program and skilled migration attracted strong growth in overseas student numbers, leading to a 27 per cent increase in offshore student visa grants between 2001 and 2003. It also led to strong growth in demand for permanent migration from former overseas students who obtained qualifications in Australia, with former students comprising almost half of those granted independent skilled migration visas through the GSM…’

    The treacherous Howard government … and it’s been a conga line ever since.

    Department of Education figures show that in February, Australian universities, private colleges, English language courses, and schools registered a combined 542,054 enrolments. February 2018

    The permanent immigration pathway using the overseas student program needs to be revoked.
    Students should be required to return home at the end of their study – they can apply for immigration to Australia only after living 2 years in their own country.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      This bit…

      “…former overseas students who made applications onshore were exempted from the requirement of obtaining work experience in their nominated occupation.”

      Well what was the f#cking point of training people then!!??

    • I’m struggling to think of one policy that the Rodent made that wasn’t either buying votes from boomers or gifting money to business. The horrid little kunt of a man set Australia on the path to ruin.

      • But he was so brave to declare he suffered from depression! A bit of an insurance policy to protect him from any harsh criticisms from the public and media, but so brave!

  4. and again,
    of 600k plus foreign students big universities account for less than a third
    it’s fake education visa issuing institutions that make this number huge – 400k of those only come to work in Australia

    • Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

      Yes not sure why MB persists with this narrative, maybe because VC’s and their paypackets make for better targets.

      Some problems in Higher Ed for sure, but MB is really missing the mark here.

  5. “36 billion of potential export earnings” – if the sole motivation is to stay, why is it being classed as an export?

    • even if they don’t stay it’s not export because huge majority of foreign students earn most of their money in Australia, and many send home a lot of money
      At least half of these students come only to make money, enrollment into an education institution is forced and expensive cost they don’t want.

    • Because, initially it is foreign income. Selling homes here to foreigners is also an export — even if the home stays here.

      In the longer run this may not be a bad thing: if, as I believe will happen eventually, many foreigners abandon Straya (and their loan obligations to local banks) these homes will at least be available to local residents, presumably at a vastly reduced price.

  6. Just another way young aussies have been stuffed. Thanks boomers. Thanks politicians. Love feeling like a foreigner in my own country

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        And all that Boomer money will eventually make its way down to the youngins once the Bastard start dying.
        That is what ever money is leftover after pissing it all up against the wall on Rhine river cruises, 4x4s, caravans and a Rapacious “Retirement living”/Aged care sector.

      • @Ermo: nah, there’s going to be nothing left to inherit. Australia’s sick-care system is rapidly importing the best talent from America and they sure know how to gouge every cent out of a person on the way to the grave.

    • Most baby boomers are guilty of voting for the politicians that enabled this debasement of our higher education sector, but so are most people in every other generation, including the 18-30 demographic.

      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-10/fact-check-would-voters-aged-under-30-possible-elect-a-green-pm/7467068

      I put a lot of the blame on compulsory voting. It is easy to influence the uninformed with big advertising campaigns and convince them that there is no alternative to what the major parties are doing. Only about 20% of baby boomers own an investment property or have really benefited from the major parties’ neoliberal policies. I suspect that the other 80% have been made even worse off, just like most other people (see Chase’s comments). Older people are even more likely to be opposed to mass migration than their children or grandchildren.

      Younger people have the power to stop all of this in its tracks, since Gen X + Gen Y are now in the majority. Stop complaining and just put the major parties last until they get the message. No more than 10% international students and no link to immigration.

  7. IKEA love it. Couldn’t move in the place at the weekend for students loading up on essentials.

  8. Had a boomer dad tell me …but but its Australias third biggest export. Apparently only 14 percent go home according to sloans article. Just wow.

    In 30 years time at this growth rate we will become a third world country. Uts all uncapped of course.
    In 10 years there will be 1 mil students easily

  9. Haha former international student here, I agree 100% with the arguments put in this article. The issue is what the cost the average Australians are ready to bear if international students are removed? The whole Australian economic system, since 90s, has been running on a ponzi scheme by luring new immigrants and students into the country and then exploiting them. Education sector, tourism sector and real estate sector,which are all now the backbone of the fragile economy, have been consistently prioritising short term commercial interest instead of reputation and quality.

    Would love to see universities stop this scam but doubt average aussie can bear the economic consequence.

    • Very true. We have an economy that is built on sand. Added to which, the vast majority of the foreigners coming here will never fully pay their way — factoring in free state education, healthcare and eligibility for state pension (plus myriad other less obvious benefits).

      What this means, of course, is that welfare state is on borrowed time and in the not-too-distant future none of the above-mentioned benefits will be available to either foreigners or natives. Look out for the arrival of MMT — the end of the welfare state will not be far behind.

      • You are so wrong when it comes to welfare. I look forward to UBI in India – Modi may need to lose the 2019 election for it to be put in.

        The rich are getting richer and UBI is merely a wealth transfer from the rich to the poorest.

      • @Jacob
        Proponents of UBI have an issue with ‘math’ i.e. taxing the rich (even assuming they willingly sat by and allowed themselves to be so) would never cover the cost of UBI — not even close. Governments need wealth generators — without them, there is no one to tax. Surely this is obvious? It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that people are happy to pay tax — but only up to a point.

        A real-world example is currently unfolding in the US state of Illinois where the state is bankrupt but lawmakers refuse to restructure the unaffordable state pension scheme and so they are raising taxes all over the joint. Those impacted by tax rises are simply selling up and moving inter-state i.e. the very people that the state relies upon to fill their coffers every year are leaving. See the problem here? Soon, only the poor will be left and the poor don’t pay taxes. Illinois is basically f*cked and only a wholesale Federal bailout can save them at this point.

        In Finland they recently ended a trial of UBI on a small scale and the conclusions were (broadly): while the overall wellbeing / happiness of people receiving the free money was greater, it led to no discernible improvement of the recipients’ employment prospects (being paid to not work did not encourage people to look for a job – what surprise!).

        In conclusion, I concede that MMT (Govt printing money to pay its bills and meet its welfare obligations) is coming, but that will only accelerate the end of the welfare state. Printing money will eventually lead to the wholesale devaluation of the currency and the end of the monetary system. That is the end-game here.

      • Well, the funding for UBI in USA was all worked out in 1969. The UBI in Iran costs 6% of GDP and Iran still has BMW dealerships. So the argument that “all the rich will leave” does not hold water. Some nations in Europe spend 30% of GDP on welfare!

        Besides, a lot of rich people are happy to donate their wealth – Buffett, Gates, Zuckerberg.

        USA is very unusual – it lacks public healthcare, public broadcasting, public universities.

        The Finland study has not been released yet. UBI is meant to end homelessness but given that 51% of the population wants it, the RWP government decided to set up a trial that is designed to fail – give it to people who are not homeless and then say “it failed to put people into jobs”.

        Inequality is at a 70 year high and even right wing pricks say “UBI is inevitable when robots do 50% of the jobs”. (But in the meantime, we should keep giving the jobs to foreign “students”)

      • @Jacob.
        In order to assess Iran’s UBI we’d need to see the details. Maybe every household gets $5 a month? I don’t know. The ‘affordability’ of any scheme depends on its parameters. Added to which, Iran is one of the largest oil exporters on the planet. Norway (also an oil exporter) has a trillion $ sovereign wealth fund and Iran does handouts — who will be better off in the long-run? Let’s wait and see.

        The official report on Finland’s UBI experiment may not be out yet but the initial feedback is in the public domain. I think it’s fair to say the experiment won’t be extended.

        The funding for UBI in the US may well have been ‘worked out’ in 1969 but so were the terms under which public sector employees were to retire — terms that, 50yrs on, are in the process of bankrupting the State (and Federal) governments.

        Yes, wealth inequality is utterly egregious today but is it not better administer a cure rather than treat the symptoms? The inflationary monetary system is front and centre to blame for the inequality, albeit I understand that the vast majority of people don’t get this.

        I am not against helping those who are doing it tough but the commonly held prescriptions for all these social issues are wrong-headed on so many levels. And while the plebs whinge and whine about society’s ills, demanding action (band aids and Panadol) that’ll solve nothing whatsoever, the elites are making off with the loot.

      • Why on earth you leave a comment without considering economics in website called MACRO BUSINESS.

        I also want to point out the great designer of this system on sand is your fellow oz boomer, dude.

      • Even ethnic Chinese in SE Asian countries hate mainlanders….mainlanders are the scourge of the modern world.

        Ps. Taiwan is not a part of China….and u shouldn’t eat cats and dogs…they are friendly animals

  10. reusachtigeMEMBER

    LOLOLOL! Nothing is gonna change blokes especially while you’re wasting your life whinging on a blog. How about you learn to profit from all this potential. Suck the life out of it all and get rich! And if you really are still a hater of vibrants then move into a nice area where they are not, like the eastern suburbs of Sydney. You’ll be rich enough and can hob-knob with other great achievers making something of it.

  11. Universities have been captured by the corporate class and are now key in the population ponzi. The chancellor of UNSW is also the chairman of ANZ. Bank.

    • They have absolutely NOT been captured by the corporate class. The entire point of our modern day priesthood is to be handmaidens to power. From the German professors pushing nationalism for Bismarck, to the Soviet Academy of Sciences certifying the most retarded ideas Russian Socialism could come up with, the purpose of the temples/universities is to provide a façade for the powerful.

      Have you ever met a “educated” person who did not advocate more education? Have you ever met a priest who did not think the problems of the world could be solved if we all went to church more often. There is no difference, apart from instead of selling indulgences (read: salvation, and you’ll go to hell if you don’t pay), they sell ‘college degrees’.

      The academy is made of of small minded bigots, shilling for whatever hand feeds their ego’s and bellies. The funniest part is how cheap they are – until you realize they are paid in social status which they could not otherwise achieve, having SFA skills.

      Those who can do, those who can’t, teach.

      They have NOT been captured by power. Their purpose is to be lackeys to power. Its a feature, not a bug.

  12. Would it be possible for local students to start a class action against their universities to recoup their fees paid? Given that the value of their course has been diminished by the supply and quality of recent graduates?

    • And the unpaid work they do in getting foreign student across the line with ‘group assignments’?

  13. robert2013MEMBER

    Stop foreign students from working here both during and after their courses. Close at least 5 universities. Make employers train people. Problem solved.

  14. Can MB please do the economics on the ‘international education export’ myth please?

    I have a feeling we are actually running a deficit with international students studying here – yes, fees are paid in Australia, but money goes back overseas to pay for fees via remittances; there is an erosion of job opportunities for locals given international students can work and also help reduce pay rates (with more locals requiring Centrelink benefits as a result); as well as the erosion of affordable housing (just the cost to Centrelink via increases in rent assistance would be large). Of course, such an analysis would only be the financial numbers and not including the amenity costs to locals.

    It would be good to have a published ‘fact check’ article online that people can refer to whenever a politician or Big Australia advocate talks about the value of international students.

    Cheers!

      • I’m thinking of just the cost of temporary student visas (who don’t get free healthcare), but concede there is a large infrastructure cost to Australian tax-payers.

  15. Dissection of the ‘Australian International Student industry ‘’$32 billion Export’’ myth.

    There are a lot of facts here.
    If you post too many links on MB you get moderated.
    So I have given word references to those sources as most have been posted here before or easily checked.

    The oft repeated claim:
    “The number of student visas has increased with the booming international student export industry in Australia, now worth an estimated $32 billion*.”

    *The original source being a Deloitte Access Economics study commissioned by the Australian Education & International Students lobbyists.

    ➡️It’s $32 billion of ‘economic activity’.
    That’s true.
    But is not a $32 billion ‘Export’ industry.

    The original source.
    A 2015 Deloitte Access Economics Report was sponsored by the Australian Education. The ‘export number’ was prorated from 2015 numbers by the growth in foreign student numbers to now be a ‘ $32 billion export’. 

    Original source.
    https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economics-growth-opportunity-australian-international-education-011215.pdf

    Key takeaway.
    The report partly describes the foreign student ‘economic activity’, but not their declared funds or actual source of funds & income (which is primarily working illegally) or their wider social & economic impact.

    March 2018: 672,000 foreign students & partner across all visa categories.
    During 2018-2019 there has been a 6.7% growth rate (DHA quarterly reports).

    Now.
    March 2019: 720,000 foreign students & partners is a conservative estimate.

    Their actual fee income paid?
    $8.2 billion Mode 2 onshore foreign students in the report, the other modes are fractional. And all the rest of the ‘economic value’ like family visits & so on added on again without cost impacts.
    See report in link Mode 2 Fees  :  $4.7 billion – $5.7 billion then, Page 74 footnote 24 hidden down the bottom) /   And now with growth of numbers est at $8.2 billion) matching to then the costs & profit taken by delivering the ‘education service’.

    Cross check on foreign student funds.
    It turns out the money to pay even the primary applicant student fees is EARNED HERE. They only come in with under $2.4 billion in declared funds, often rorted (DHA Declared Funds Report 2017) so what’s happening is that’s just enough to pay that new entire intake first semester fees. The rest never checked, or as an agent procurer loan debt & fee – only in the bank account long enough to get the visa then whisked out again.

    All the rest of the money earned here.

    Many are in agent procurer loan debt, even for just those first semester fees.
    The test being that if all foreign students funds had to be declared, all fees for the 4 year course paid upfront, plus government held bonds or monitored accounts on funds their 4 visa years living expenses of $28k a year – then almost immediately 95% of the current intake would fail that criteria.

    Human capital value.
    Deloitte adds on a very arbitrary $8.7 billion human capital value (page 49) as they get the PR etc. What they don’t mention is only 3.9% ever progress to a high income professional vocation (2015 A Decade On Migrant Pathways Report).
    So 96% of foreign students & partners DO NOT achieve a high income professional vocation in Australia (as a PR) or back on their home country.

    Cross check.
    The later Productivity Commission Report also found that foreign students were a very low quality unskilled & unsuitable PR intake. 
    They rated them as negative human capital value compared to a more desirable highly skilled & proven human capital value intake.
    Their overall summary is that the vast bulk of foreign students are from third world countries, unskilled, not particularly young (many 30 year old adult) -and are doing very low level courses, so not a good PR intake.

    And we know that there is systemic fraud, easily cheated courses, Education that is available in their home country or free online globally.

    The overall view is that they are not here for the ‘education’ but to work illegally, to snag a PR, to be an anchor for chain migration, and many are in significant agent procurer debt, reinforcing their intention to work illegally in visa breach.

    The biggest issue however in the Deloitte report is the failure to quantify the economic & social impact.

    Impacts that have for example degraded Australian Education sector (fallen 10 places globally), created mass congestion, housing contention, almost 3/4 of a million foreign students living & working illegally & large scale visa fraud and breach of their visa conditions & COE.

    Here are the details missing in the Deloitte Report by Economic & social category.

    1. Job theft & lowered wages for Australians.
    75% of the 672,000 foreign students work illegally (Syd Uni & UTS studies), so that’s 505,000 in visa breach stealing over 505,000 Australians jobs, & lowering wages for all other Australians.

    Those 505,000 Australian unemployed cost $9.6 billion in Australian tax funded unemployment benefit costs.
    That alone exceeds the entire foreign student fee income (and of which most of which is earned here illegally).

    So on just one simple measure, the entire foreign student industry is economically negative (fees paid v illegal work & Australians unemployment impact)

    2. Australian Wages.
    The evidence is that the foreign students lower wages for all Australians in both the race to the bottom in wages paid, illegal work and casualisation of employment – costing tens of billions in Australian direct wages loss, loss of permanent jobs & plus taxation loss or avoidance.

    The estimate is that they lower all Australian wages by 6.7% or $48 billion, and the indirect tax loss (from no wages growth for all Australians, so less tax paid at what would be a higher rate) – that’s a hard loss taxation impact of $16.3 billion.

    3. Housing.
    The report is silent on the fact that the foreign students & partners are long stay to very long stay (4 to 9 years is common in COE & visa extension & churn).

    The report is also silent on the fact that the 672,000 foreign students & partners occupy at least 134,000 ex Australian dwellings at say 5 per dwelling.

    They don’t mention the concentration but that is 91% or 603,000 foreign students in just Sydney or Melbourne.

    96% of 91% of foreign students & partners rent in ‘private shared accommodation’
    (DHIA & SCC housing studies) as the Universities & colleges only provide a tiny fraction (under 3%) of Sydney or Melbourne accommodation & its high cost. Far less affordable than foreign owned & run high density cram bunk share subletting.

    At an average of $180 a week each being the widely advertised market rent in Sydney for bunkshare – that’s $6.3 billion cash rent paid, but only $3 billion in what is ‘legal occupancy’ rent able to be declared, so $3.3 billion taken as cash plus negative gearing claims of another $0.5 billion.
    Plus add on the contention / rent impacts on Australian renters of at least another $3 billion negative.
    $6 -8 billion negative.

    Plus 116,000 Australian homeless & 360,000 Australians seeking affordable housing or on housing assistance costing the Australian taxpayer $3.7 billion.

    So at least $10 billion negative impact.

    4. Congestion / public infrastructure.
    They drive some 108,000 cars on international licences (RMS/Vic Roads).
    Their fines are not even collected by NSW SDRO as it’s so heavily frauded in identity fraud. No registration, checks on identity or location or address systems are in place, or links to immigration & law enforcement.

    They heavily congest our trains & public transport. As anyone can attest to. Sparking massive infrastructure projects such as Sydney Light Rail ($4 billion) that they will never pay for.
    Tens of billions lost.

    5. Environmental impact.
    There is also no mention of power or water usage impact, 300,000 foreign students & partners in just Sydney alone – the Desal plant, emissions impact & all the other folly of mass concentration – costing the Australian taxpayer even billions more.

    6. Visa breach/criminal activity.
    No mention that the foreign student industry is the epi-centre of crime & the foreign run vice industry, willing participants trafficked in on a student alibi, or resorting to that as their main income onshore.

    No mention of the foreign student used as ‘mules’ in mass scale foreign criminal money laundering.

    No mention of the tens billions of dirty money washed in by the foreign criminal syndicates to buy those modest Australian established dwellings via a PR proxy for the rivers of untaxed cash in migrant subletting, vice & crime.

    No mention of the Foreign students queued up at Xwing to launder back their debt repayments & remittances offshore – some $5.3 billion flowing out from their $31 billion illegally earned here.

    7. Impact to Australian Education.
    No mention of the cost & social impact to Australian youth now denied an affordable quality education, as the education sector prostitutes itself as a migrant visa alibi. 
    Tens of billions in immediate & long term impact to Australians.

    And it only gets much worse. A ‘modest’ goal of 1 million foreign students in the medium term. (next 5 years)

    Deloitte Report prepared for Austrade.
    It’s a shocker.

    https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/au/Documents/Economics/deloitte-au-economics-growth-opportunity-australian-international-education-011215.pdf

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    In summary.

    The foreign student Industry may be a $32 billion ‘yearly GDP activity’ in March 2018.

    But it is NOT an ‘Export’ at all, none of it.

    In is a massively corrupted, economically & socially negative program.

    At least $17 billion negative.

    Each and every foreign student & their ‘partner’ – in any simple measure is negative $25k each in their individual economic & social impact.

    And this is just one set of our TR visa categories that is corrupted.

    We need a Royal Commission into this foreign student industry – and our overall totally broken & corrupted visa system.