Thousands of international students rort visa system

A Herald-Sun investigation has revealed that thousands of international students are abusing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to extend their stays in Australia for years on end:

A Sunday Herald Sun investigation into student visas has discovered a system in crisis, with rejected international students spending up to five years appealing Department of Home Affairs decisions that they must leave.

While they wait for their appeals to be heard the rejected students are spending years on bridging visas, giving them unlimited work rights. Some of the most blatant rorts include:

— A Filipino woman who arrived in Australia in 2006 as a student and is fighting a decision to cancel her visa;

— An Indian student won three bridging visas despite no evidence of enrolments since 2017;

— A Nepalese man enrolled in five courses over 11 years before he was ­finally told to leave;

— A Chinese man still appealing a 2017 decision to revoke a visa he got using a fake degree…

There are now more than 10,000 students waiting for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review their cases, with the backlog blowing out migration hearing times to an average of 77 weeks.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the government had “already taken action to help address the workload of the Migration and Refugee Division of the AAT, by appointing 33 additional members”.

Another 11,000 migration matters — many of which are student visa appeals — are now clogging the Federal Circuit Court, blowing out average trial times to 18 months…

The most visible representation of these type of shenanigans is the blow-out in temporary bridging visas, which are typically granted to migrants awaiting decisions on applications for permanent residency.

As shown in the next chart, the number of temporary bridging on issue has more than doubled under the Coalition Government’s watch, to 230,000 as at September 2019:

An entire industry has developed to ‘game’ Australia’s visa system.

When temporary visa holders does not wish to go home they can contact the immigration industry and set in motion the never ending AAT process, thus allowing them to extend their stays in Australia for work or in a bid to gain permanent residency.

As a result, there is now a massive backlog at both the AAT and federal court, which have been swamped with dodgy claims for residency.

As noted last year by former High Court justice, Ian Callinan:

[Ian Callinan] said “almost everyone” with migration law experience had told him there were applic­ants and representatives who “game the system, well knowing there is an automatic entitlement to a bridging visa”…

The solution to stop the rorting of Australia’s visa system requires tightening the AAT process by closing avenues of appeal to foreigners rejected a visa by the Department of Home Affairs.

Given each migrant case reviewed by the AAT costs between $2137 and $3036 to review, there is also a Budget imperative in shutting the visa rorting down.

Unconventional Economist


  1. “A Herald-Sun investigation has revealed that thousands of international students are abusing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to extend their stays in Australia for years on end…”

    In other breaking news from the Herald-Sun: The world is unlikely to be flat; smoking might be bad for you; and the moon is not made from green cheese.

    • Over 800,000 ‘foreign students & partners…
      (of total of 863,000 on this third world migrant guestworker pretext alibi)…are exploiting our totally corrupted Australian visa system.

      We have 863,000 foreign students & partners onshore.
      785,000 are primary visa holders,
      63,000 so called partners,
      Another 15,000 as DFAT & special visa holders.
      (DHA & Aust Education Gov)

      If we normalised our ‘foreign students’ to be like many other OECD countries- no partners, no work rights, their full course fee payment in advance and only genuine higher education (university level with international accreditation)…
      then our foreign student onshore population would be less than 60,000

      The ‘Migrant Pathways A Decade On Report’ in 2015 noted that the progression of an international student into a skilled vocation with above average Australian income (in their home country or in Australia) was only 3.6%.
      That’s right – 96% fail to be anything.
      Here – or back in China, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, whatever.
      That later triggered the Productivity Commission repert to state that International Students are NOT a suitable intake for Permanent Residency.
      So now if they can’t get the PR, it’s churn into other Visa categories to extend their stay or off to the appeals tribunal to get another 5 years with full work rights.

      The ‘Education’ itself is a joke.
      43% are doing Elicos (8 year old English, cartoon colouring in books and field trips for 35 year old Indian shelf stackers or end of life Asian prostitutes trafficked in on this alibi, or ‘Vet’ courses that are year 10 business studies or cooking – all available free online or in their home country at much lower cost.
      Dressed as as certificates or diplomas but it’s nonsense education.
      Another 39% are doing very basic low level stock higher education courses that allow minimal class time, rote answers & group assignments that are very easily cheated or sourced out : and very long breaks and work experience to maximise working in Australia.
      Again to no real qualification, just as a very long stay visa alibi to live & work illegally in visa breach, repay agent procurer debt & send back remittances.

      Less than 18% are doing genuine higher education in a degree or course that is specialised, unique and has international accreditation & recognition.
      (Australia Education Gov website has the detail & it’s been posted here before)

      “But” you say
      “But they are our 2nd largest export industry worth $36 billion, $43 billion, or some make believe figure etc here.

      No they are not.

      Their total fee income is less than $14 billion.
      The money used to pay those fees is earned in Australia. Not an export.
      Their declared funds (Chinese & others are given an exemption to be self declared) of ALL the 2.1 million TR in 2018 was only $2.5 billion. (DHA).

      And these ‘declared funds’ are very easily and routinely frauded, the funds money is lent by the agent procurer for a free, a statement provided, then the money whisked out of the account and used for the next one.

      They only pay the first semester and a token joke health coverage fee & even that is borrowed from the foreign agent procurer to be paid back once they start working legally (limited or full work rights) or illegally.

      And the Chinese hukou internal illegal, or the Indian rural or Nepalese enters Australia, may attend a class, works full time or more than full time in blatant visa breach. Fake ID & ABN fraud, cash in hand and many Asians in prostitution (a legal income source for an international student even with fake Id & no tax paid..)

      75% or 647,000 work illegally.
      (UTS & Sydney Uni studies)

      That creates a very direct impact on Australian in unemployment of over 650,000 mature age, youth and Australian unskilled.

      650,000 unemployed Australians at $19k Newstart a year is $12.3 billion of taxpayer cost alone.
      That single cost impact alone is close to the total fees paid (from the money earned here illegally).

      We then have the wages impact to the rest of Australians (14 million / $53k each -3% wages loss or an estimated $22 billion)

      We then have housing contention, 8 Nepalese or Indians or Chinese in a 2 bed unit bunk share, paying $160 a week cash in hand (total foreign landlord rent $1,300 a week not declared or minimised / no tax, and that is forcing evicting Australian renters in ‘normal occupancy’ out into the street.

      Add on tens of billions more cost impact to Australians in artificially high rents and contention for housing.

      We see 116,000 Australian permanent homeless and another 340,000 seeking affordable housing housing. Another $5 billion in costs.

      Then we have Sydney/Melbourne congestion, and the massive misguided ‘infrastructure projects’ costing tens of billions.. they aren’t paying for that.
      The Australian taxpayer is.

      Add on a totally degraded (fallen 10 places) education system and sky rocketing costs for Australians to get access to higher education.
      Again billions of cost and social impact.

      And foreign run employment labor services rings that are highly racist and will discriminate against any Australian or ‘legal’ person being hired because it’s $5 a hour or cash in hand and migrants only in wages for those ex Australian jobs now..


      This ‘international student’ industry is massively economically and socially destructive.

      By tens of billions of dollars.

      I would say by at least $33 billion NEGATIVE impact cost. And that’s conservative, it is much more.

      👉🏻Each of the 845,000 foreign students and partners costing the Australian taxpayers and Australian society some $35,000 in their impact – as soon as they walk thru immigration.

      👉🏻The whole rotten farce needs full media exposure, and a Royal Commission.

  2. “An Indian student won three bridging visas despite no evidence of enrolments since 2017”

    How does that even happen?

    • And the fake degree, it should be, you lied goodbye! Or don’t the government know the conditions printed on their own forms that ail immigrants sign?

  3. The unis thought they had an impending cashflow crisis 3 weeks ago.

    Just wait until Melbourne or Sydney is in lockdown come semester 2.

    How many of the 150k Chinese uni students will hang around?

    May lose 50k, 100k students overnight.

    • In three months there will be a different narrative. Foreign students will be concerned about catching COVID-19 when attending Uni in Australia.

  4. As I keep saying, the “chaos” is an essential part of the plan. Scotty is more reliant than ever, on his 270K net migration target, to fake “GDP growth”. Luckily for him, with COVID-19, it would more “racist” than ever, to even discuss this.

  5. Poor Fellow My Country

    Try this one on:

    FCCA case 1845 from 2016 (MB has banned direct linking to austlii for some reason)

    TLDR: India male aged 22 arrives in Aus in 2009 on a student visa with his then wife (also Indian). Divorced 1 year later. His student visa runs out. He then marries a woman who has a very anglo-sounding name who is 43 and has drinking and gambling problems. He then claims to be the victim of domestic violence from her so dumps her (at the pokies in the RSL I assume) and sticks out his paw for a PR visa. WT actual F??????

    First: contrary to the fraudulent stereotypes perpetrated by the misandrist, overfed, underworked women of privilege that infest DomainFax and the ABC I actually give a pretty big F about domestic violence and believe that almost exclusively men are the perpetratrors and that much more should be done to stamp it out. To allow this piece of scum to cry domestic violence to get a visa makes a mockery of the whole system and undermines efforts to protect women affected by this, be they overseas or locally born.

    Second I cannot believe that Scummo thinks we have the resources to be ploughing into this crap i.e. Federal Magistrates on $300,000 plus, court staff, legal aid etc etc when he cannot fund enough hospital beds in Western Sydney – and that was prior to COVID-19.

    This needs to be shutdown now, but naturally that would be too racialist

    • “almost exclusively men are the perpetratrors”

      Utter nonsense.
      Female on male domestic violence is more prevalent than you know and realise and is grossly under-reported, is not taken seriously and the resources to address it are sorely lacking.
      According to the mainstream narrative, females never ever hit or bully their partners, be it males or females.
      Let me also add that hours of whining, complaining, b*tching, berating etc. by women is also tantamount to domestic terrorism for untold thousands of men suffering in desperate silence.

      • If you include shoves and slaps, you may well be correct, but the community is concerned about violent people who put other people in the hospital (sometimes with lifelong injuries) or in the morgue. Men are unparalleled champions in that regard, because they are larger, stronger, and tend to be more aggressive than women. You don’t have to put up with whining or nagging (or even shoves or slaps), because you can leave. A woman who is regularly subjected to savage beatings and told that her husband will kill her and maybe the children if she leaves him doesn’t have that freedom. An apprehended violence order is just a piece of paper.


        Gender Differences in Violence Exposure Among University Students Attending Campus Health Clinics in the United States and Canada

        intimate partner violence (IPV)

        Similar rates of men (17%) and women (16%) reported any violence in the past 6 months; women were more likely to report emotional and men to report physical violence. Of those reporting emotional violence, 45.5% women and 50% men indicated it was IPV, and 23.7% women and 20.9% men reported physical IPV.

        Recent violence exposure among university students affects nearly one in five attending campus clinics. Screening for violence exposure should include both men and women

  6. Put the AAT’s in Administrative Appeal Camps until their hearings are capable of being heard.

  7. Talent Acquisition Consultant
    Curtin University
    Perth > Fremantle & Southern Suburbs
    Business partnering, high volume end to end recruitment role based at our vibrant Bentley campus

    Universities have lost the plot.

  8. Lenny Hayes for PMMEMBER

    Maybe if you hold the host institution liable for any and all costs their clients and the government incur in this process they might weed out the higher risk cases a little bit better ?.

  9. Right there in this article is a huge stimulus package we could launch. Fast track the appeals and get rid of all the fakers asap thus opening up heaps of gig jobs etc to genuine people and massively reduce the ongoing cost to the system so we can spend it on something that contributes to GDP. Would be a vote winner too.

  10. Richard Hoffmann

    My wife has worked with international students at universities for 20 years.The moment the males arrive they actively starget locallow-self-esteem girls to access the defacto visa rort ad finitum.The girls hang around curtain universities known for male academics with leases on apartments near the unis. Clout to game the visa system to keep their “bit on the side”. Asian girl students have always very boldly laughed & bragged about this with my wife. Ditto the male students blackmailing poor local girls,especially once they get into their apartments (and hopefully getting them pregnant!!). And these are the ones capable of getting into a degree at a top university! They arrive in Australian knowing all about these rorts in full. My wife spends a lot of time warning the local girls but the poor dowdy nervous teenagers are sadly so THRILLED by all the male romantic attention they dismiss all warnings:-(