Indians behind surge in high-risk international student visas

A jump in the number of high-risk student visa applications from India have driven lengthy delays in student visa processing across New Zealand:

The majority of offshore student visa applications received by Immigration NZ since November last year have been high risk. Since November 2018, only 16 percent of the 3800 visa offshore student applications were deemed to be low risk…

This assessment was made based on certain risk factors, including the potential for fraudulent documentation, future exploitation, and insufficient documentation to meet immigration instructions.

With the number of confirmed cases of fraudulent visa applications on the rise – up 88 percent last year – officials were scrutinising applications through phone interviews, independent verification of the documentation, and third-party checks, including security checks…

However, some education providers, particularly in the PTE [private training establishments] sub-sector, continued to focus on quantity over quality.

They did this by promoting low-level courses in non-skill shortage areas and in higher risk markets. PTEs and ITPs also carried out minimal vetting of prospective students, the briefing paper said…

Immigration New Zealand specifically singled out the northern states of India as being a high-risk market… In 2018, 47 percent of ITP applications and 62 percent of PTE applications came from one of these states, compared with just 14 percent of university applications.

Of the applications being processed by the Mumbai office on April 3, 76 percent were deemed high risk (a total of 2773) and 22 percent medium risk.

May’s Four Corners expose on Australia’s international student trade was particularly scathing of the quality of students coming from the Indian sub-continent, reporting widespread plagiarism, academic misconduct, and high failure rates.  The below email to colleagues from Murdoch University’s Professor Benjamin Reilly highlights the issues:

“In semester one 2018 we experienced a surge in new international students into some postgraduate courses. This surge increased sharply in semester two 2018, with several hundred new students, mostly from the Punjab region of India, enrolling in a small number of postgraduate courses.

“While some were OK, many do not have the language skills to study at a postgraduate level and have thus been unable to participate in class or complete assessments for the units legitimately.

“Hence we now have a much larger number of academic misconduct issues, supplementary assessments and outright failures than we have previously experienced in the units in which this cohort has enrolled”…

Correspondence from Dr Duncan Farrow, a maths lecturer and academic misconduct investigator, similarly encapsulates the problems:

“Perhaps the most telling statistic of them all: 48 of the 80 students admitted to the MIT in semester one this year had at least one academic misconduct finding against them,” he wrote.

“Not only was there a huge increase in numbers of misconduct cases but additionally the investigations were more difficult due to the poor language capabilities of many of the students involved.

“I have just reviewed the results for students from the Punjab region in BSC100 Building Blocks for Science Students and it is depressing. Of the 52 students in this category, 12 have passed the unit outright — a pass rate of less than 25 per cent.

Australia has also experienced a proliferation of “ghost schools” with limited staff and minimal student attendance, used mostly by Indian students in search of working rights and permanent residency:

Dr Bob Birrell said some interstate universities with “shopfronts” in Melbourne were ­offering cheap business and IT courses that provided minimum accreditation for a skilled visa application…

“It has little to do with the excellence of the education that’s offered here,” he said. “It seems to be effectively selling access to jobs and ­permanent residence.”

Home Affairs Department figures show Indians are the biggest applicants of the 485 student visa, with the number granted to them rising from 10,015 in 2016-17 to 14,026 last year. Many Indian students afterwards apply for permanent residency, with more than 4000 given skilled independent visas onshore in 2016-17…

Indeed, across the ACT private colleges sprung up like mushrooms catering primarily to Indian students seeking permanent residency under the Territory’s migration scheme:

“When the subclass 190 visa popped up, the students started streaming in,” Min Gurung, marketing and sales manager from JP International College, in Mawson said. The college experienced an increase of 300-400 students in the past year, with many students moving to the ACT with their partners and young families…

Unity College in Belconnen experienced an almost two-fold increase in its student numbers to about 50…

Some operators of the colleges are reluctant to speak out, with one reporting his institution had about 100 students before July last year. In the past year, that number grew to about 300 students…

It’s believed up to eight colleges have opened in the past year and more applications could be in the works…

Reflecting the above, the Department of Home Affairs’ biannual student visa data shows that applications from India surged by 79.6% in 2H 2018 to 39,678:

However, the number of visa applications granted was much lower at 29,669; albeit they were still up 53.5% in 2H 2018:

Accordingly, the proportion of Indian visa applications granted has plummeted, especially for those applying offshore where the grant rate is the lowest of all nations at 71.5% (i.e. 28.5% rejection rate):

There is also a huge backlog of Indian student visas awaiting decisions, presumably delayed because they are high risk:

The aggressive growth in international students has already unambiguously lowered Australian university standards. And there is the clear and present danger that standards will be eroded even further by the influx of lower quality students from India, who are using the student visa system as a backdoor for gaining working rights and permanent residency.

Leith van Onselen


  1. So 12 passed and 40 failed in Building Blocks for science…..seems to always go back to their levels of English. Failure should automatically mean back you go, instead of awww here’s a Bridging visa…failure doesn’t matter – we will give you a PR instead. Australia is greedier than all these people put together! Getting a little tired of translating things in Australia, too – their excuse seems to be the worn out phrase, “Australia is a multi-cultural country”….I’ve never had to revert to kindergarten level English until now – and I really shouldn’t have to. And as for the long delays on the phone to sort out a simple problem…”Hold the line a moment Ma’am”…repeated again and again…are they hitting up Google translate meanwhile, because it takes an inordinate amount of time to conduct a conversation? Even my clear, simple baby English isn’t being understood. It seems we are catering to them! Ah, but Australia “is a multi-cultural country”….ok…ok…

    • DreadnotMEMBER

      Mate. We should all learn Hindi, a poetic and logical language, and the problem would be solved.

    • Because we import breeding pairs.

      There is also a good chance that this person is just a scammer and will sell the free stuff they get on eBay/gumtree.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        More likely they are probably both – the mere fact that they are a foreign student implies they’re scamming their way into our nation.

    • In time, the baby born here, eventually will qualify for citizenship. Having a child here helps with the parents going from temporary visas to permanent residents.

      It seems there is a fair higher rate of subcontinental women that are pregant then locals, particularly young Indians.

      Anchor babies, ahoy, my boys!

  2. proofreadersMEMBER

    Presumably, the Federal Government department processing visas has a decently-profitable business line? Wasn’t the government at one stage looking at privatising the visa application process? Makes sense?

  3. This does not include the PR that is getting handed out to Indian and Chinese applicants who have not even set foot in the country.

    And whatever skills they have, are

    1. Not in short supply

    2. Are not recognised in Australia anyway

    For a non-discriminatory immigration system it seems to produce remarkable concentrations from a few countries.

    Funny how they are mostly from two massive potential markets.

    Just a coincidence.

    The idea that our immigration system is a non discriminatory “points” system is a lot of nonsense.

    That is just a cover story to give the virtue signallers something to cling to.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      I have a mate who use to work in recruitment – they’d have to fight tooth and nail to get a level 5 developer in from France who speaks perfect English and is genuinely in critical need to role out say a specific project, but if you wanted you could pretty much get an unlimited number of level 2 or 3 Indian spaghetti coders who could barely speak English.

      If there is ever a Royal Commission into Immigration they should turn their attention on all the Punjabs who are now employed within our public service and any relationships that exist between them and Indian migration agents…. my feeling is you wouldn’t have to examine too many bank accounts or Facebook pages either here or in India to see exactly what has been going on.

      • It does seem rather strange.

        And to think these public servants get a healthy pay rise each year, all at the expense of the system and Australia.

    • PR should not be given from abroad, before testing the applicants value to the Australian market.

      PR should only be given from a temporary visa, and only when on a temporary visas where there is a genuine skills shortage that is persistent (with preference where holding a job that supports export growth) and the person has contributed a decent amount of tax, through a abover average taxable income. The health assessment should also be done in Australia, and should be of health status, not the current of equal or better then a local of same age. Definitely no smokers and those with high BMIs.

    • The cynic in me thinks the growth in importing people from China and India is for the sake of keeping trade agreements going with said countries.

    • No. Because Australia should not be a fuсking “market” where everything is for sale, provided you pay enough.

      Australia should be a nation and a society. Which seeks to actively exclude scamming fcukwits.

      But Stewie is probably right, and that age and hope is now likely gone.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        Enjoy the diversity and food selection – that is what inner city mankers have traded our social capital for.

      • Just look to the UK for how that’s become in the last 20 years. London doesn’t even look like London anymore.

    • As a sensible person, I think we should be engaging them with automatic weapons. Lots of automatic weapons.

      But that’s just me.

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        I’m more of an ammonia nitrate and diesel man myself.

        Powdered Iron oxide and ground Aluminium is pretty handy too.

    • DominicMEMBER

      As a libertarian you should know that immigration schemes and welfare states don’t mix. Certainly, a bad outcome is assured.

      I have no problem with someone coming in and giving it a good crack absent a dollar of taxpayer assistance. Without the promise of a State pension, free medical care and education would many stay if they failed? I doubt it.

      • Scrap the giving of PR to middle-aged low skilled people. Their pensions and Medicare assistance should be indexed to how long they have been tax-payers.

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I love the Chinamen-like races especially the Thais but I just can’t get into the Indian-like races as their chicks are too conservative and totally don’t get me going. So this is a shame.

  5. So if they this cohort make for dubious students, why do we think in the West, that they would make good temporary and permenant residents?

  6. For me all that this really confirms is that Aussie Labour is over priced and as such can be substituted through various forms of labour arbitrage. We will continue to have this problem for as long as both India and China continue to close the education gap, maybe if they surpass us than we’ll see some change but even than it’s unlikely because there are plenty more African’s and others that will fill whatever gap is left.
    The real challenge for Australia is to lift ourselves above the lowest cost labor provider, we do this by reinventing ourselves and developing products / services for which Aussie and other global customers willingly pay the necessary labour premium for a better / newer / shinier product.
    Every other approach is just lip service.

    • It’s about producing premium products that they world wants.

      Germany can do, there’s no reason why we can’t.

  7. Now if we did a proper review of PR and temporary resident applicants from the subcontinent (independant checks, phone verifications checks) to Australia and NZ, would almost all be ‘high risk’ or ‘medium risk’ too?

  8. Is NZ perhaps clearing out their student numbers? Have they perhaps undertaken a productivity review and worked out that international students (particularly from the subcontinent) is not a great export industry, but on the whole, a loss to the NZ economy and to local NZers?

    When you factor in cash-in hand work, remittances to family abroad and to pay those they borrowed money for the courses and for their visas, education providers owned by those from overseas sending profits overseas in remittances, the costly visa appeals process, as well as infrastructure costs – perhaps it isn’t such a booming export industry.

  9. Why can’t Australian government department single out particular countries or regions of origin that are problematic.

    Let’s start calling out all the businesses owned by mainland Chinese in Australia, that underpay staff.

    Let’s start calling out all the visa fraud from the subcontinent.

    Let’s start calling out all the Medicare fraud from the subcontinent and China.

    Let’s start calling out all the poor health outcomes from the subcontinent.

  10. billygoatMEMBER

    7-11 and other servos must be affiliated with education institutions serving as venue for ‘student pracs’ where they practice their English language skills in work day environment.
    G’Day Mate … I’m not kidding they play on the Aussie accent with a smile:)))

    • They try so hard to ingratiate themselves with us, as if a tick and flick addition of ‘mate’ makes us feel a special bond with these people who are crowding our streets, increasing housing costs, making locals feel like strangers in their own land, reducing our wages and reducing our living standards.

    • Look at dem lubly yorgas

      Would you prefer a sideways head wobble along with a “thank you, come again”?

  11. Look at dem lubly yorgas

    Funny all the hate towards the head wobblers, considering they’re technically caucasian

  12. These Indians are recruited from the slums and rural poor areas of India. (And Nepal, Bangladesh, China, North and South Asia etc).

    We have over 1 million Indians born in the sub continent now onshore. 280,000 as citizen grants, another 350,000 as PR, at least 290,000 as TR / SCV and over 100,000 onshore at any one time as so called tourist visitors, most living or working illegals.
    1.020 million Indians.
    Almost rivalling the 1.3 million Chinese mainland born communists.

    -> We aren’t getting the best or brightest Indians, but the absolute detruis, and their social and economic burden.

    How it works: (and in consideration of dr smithy’s sensitive feelings – no bigotry or racial bias here – just socioeconomic facts and my ownobservations when living in these countries and having seen at first hand the scale & operations of the migrant trafficking..)

    India, Nepal, Bangladesh, all across Asia etc all have a common theme in exploiting Australia’s borders & visas, and then each one has unique characteristics.

    In India, the migrant traffickers invariably target the sick old diseased and long abandoned mother – and the ‘mummy boy’ (usually the 2nd or 3rd son – the female is killed before birth or in nfantcide until 2 or 3 sons)
    First son – the entrepreneur or business man.
    Second son – the government worker.
    Third son – has the ‘responsibility’ for the old sick mother and her sisters in old age. No pension or healthcare in India.

    So the ‘loan’ ($12-15k) is made by the Indian criminal agents & racketeers to the old sick abandoned mother, invariably in debt, and then the Indian ‘mommy boy’ is packaged up.

    Fake doc & a fake health check (a clean skin copy used by the agent offshore ‘doctor’ for a bribe) – most are riddled with hepatitis, TB, dengue, malaria, NDM1 & other endemic disease. Aa Japan recently discovered when they did independent testing of those coming in, riddled with Hep & TB & other disease.

    The illegal work and accommodation bunk share in Sydney or Melbourne is all pre-organised.

    The student visa (4 years & up to 8 years with visa & COE churn) or the ‘skilled visa’ or whatever pretext visa they can use to enter (fake spousal $15k, fake sponsorship etc).

    The Indian mummy boy is then arranged into some simple nonsense course – deliberately designed to be be very easy & minimal effort (year 12 high school 6 week courses stretched out to be 2-4 year ‘certificates & diplomas).

    Then once in Australia- working 60-70 hours a week in 2 – 3 jobs illegally to pay back that agent procurer loan debt.

    To send repay the loan debt & send back the remittances.

    To live in some fetid Sydney or Melbourne migrant slum in shared accommodation, often 8-10 in a tiny unit.

    Also to pay cash back to the local Indian mafia that ‘arranged the illegal work’ – his boss man standing with him outside the ATM to get his cut, duplicate timesheets, ABN contract hire – you name it.

    Or via the NZ SCV loophole, NZ shedding their intake mistakes into Australia by granting them a passport stamp and then they exit to Australia on a SCV.

    Finally after some years, additional bribes and fake documents and the Indian has the ‘PR’

    Never paid any tax, or any social contribution – everything was cash & illegal work.

    Then the Indian PR will sponsor usually in this order:
    ▪️The old sick diseased mother
    Wheeled down the arrivals ramp in a wheelchair with all the others – up to 40 wheelchairs needed on the incoming Air India passengers (go see for yourself)
    The old sick diseased mother in her wheelchair proudly waving the Australian immigration stamp to the mass of Indians gathered at arrivals.
    ▪️Her sisters
    ▪️The other siblings
    ▪️The extended family
    The fake spousal visas along the way as cash back for the agent loan debt and bribes paid.
    Chain migration.

    Then the mother and her sisters off to the Centrelink for the welfare payments.
    And to virtually live in the medical centre for the free Medicare and to loot the PBS drugs for resale back in India.
    And then the flood of application forms for the sponsoring of the others – each success earning $10k from the agent procurers in repayment of the loan debt.


    And that’s exactly how we ended up with over 600,000 Indian born unskilled & accompany old sick useless living in vast migrant only enclaves in our cities.

    The ‘mummy boy’ responsibility?
    Dumped on the Australian taxpayer – you.
    Australia becomes the one that picks up that ‘burden’ of looking after the old sick & diseased Indian mother and her sisters. The PR applicant married & remarried a couple of times to secure more spousal or other visas i the chain migration.

    Australians- it’s time to face up to the facts.

    Our border controls and visa system is completely broken and exploited by the blatant migrant trafficking.

    🔻Degrading our society
    🔻Lowering our gdp per Capita
    🔻Systemic job and wages theft
    🔻Destroying our education system as it prostitutes itself as a migrant guestworker visa alibi
    🔻Overloading our welfare and health care system
    🔻Non assimilating intake with violent or corrosive ideologies that weaken or destroy our common values.
    🔻Destroying our environment and infrastructure capacity
    🔻Importing a huge social welfare and economic burden that will impact Australians for generations.


    🔹Compulsory health checks on arrival in Australia on all Indian, Bangladesh, Nepalese & Asian arrivals.

    🔹Blood tests & X-rays – the extensive criminal rorting of the documents, Fake identity and fake health checks in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Asia etc presents a major bio security risk to all Australians.

    🔹Checks of ‘declared funds’, this process is extensively rorted, the money is placed there by the agent procurer to get the ‘statement’, then whisked out and reused for the next one.

    🔹The Indian PR, TR & Tourist Visitors’ many working illegally to report to the local police station every month with a full declaration and check on where they live, who they pay rent to (ATO matching to stamp out the foreign criminal use of Australian housing for migrant cash in hand sublet) the exact funds they have, any work income & their foreign remittances outflow.

    The intake of old diseased sick mothers and her sisters and the extended family?

    🔹No PR & no welfare or Medicare benefits at all.

    🔹And a full criteria in ever getting a citizen grant – full English, proof of income or who funds their permanent stay in Australia and proof of assimilation.

    -> All of which is no different to the rules in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, South East Asia and the rest of their countries of origin.

    • Subcontinental migration is not a ticking timb-bomb, it has already exploded and eroded living standards, healthcare, education and social standards.

  13. Won’t happen. Immigration is more scared of being called racist than doing anything about the visa fraud.

    • Treasury and the rest of government might have to get them to look into it, because the anticipated winfall that was to come from all this migration isn’t happening because of the make up of the migrants coming here. They aren’t spending like they are suppose to.

    • Hmmm, whilst I share your concerns about the way the country is going I don’t think that is quite true. I suspect they cannot cover the enormous ground opened up by extremely poor (by design) policy (bipartisan policy). As for feelings……The Dept of Immigration is a bit like the ATO. They just don’t give a fck.

      I have a sibling who is reasonably high up in the Immigration dept, and this sibling has been charged with going after various grifting douchebags with furious vengeance. The outcomes have included forfeiture of property and deportation of their customarily very large, publicly funded, bone idle families.

      My sibling loves it, but to go after one deserving target, to meet the burden of evidence to get a ruling against said grifter takes months of investigation and coordination with other countries etc. Many lesser thieves and scoundrels are winnowed like so much chaff, through lack of resources or other difficulties.

      This can be fixed in parliament, but won’t be.