International students demand taxpayer welfare

International students have demanded that the Morrison Government provide them with emergency welfare support amid the coronavirus outbreak:

The Council of International Students Australia (CISA), the peak body representing international students in Australia is calling for welfare packages with financial support for international students in Australia.

Its Education Officer Domi Dana Johnson says international students are amongst the highest contributors to Australia’s economy and as such, their contributions should be used in providing support to them.

She also says the education cost should be lowered as the courses have moved to an online model…

The organisation also has urged the stakeholders to strongly consider welfare packages for international students stating the “unprecedented circumstances” are causing a lot of distress…

Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive of the peak body representing Universities in Australia – Universities Australia (UA), says UA will continue to pursue the issue of support for international students with the Government… her organisation wants the government to provide the necessary assistance to international students.

I have mixed feelings about having the federal government provide temporary financial support to international students.

On the one hand, Australia is facing an unprecedented medical emergency fighting a virus that can spread quickly person-to-person. Therefore, the last thing it wants is thousands of international students possibly running out of cash, becoming homeless, and wondering the streets in search of work. We want them to stay quarantined at home and providing them with temporary financial support would help them do so, as would helping them to return home (if possible). I discussed these points yesterday.

On the other hand, international students are supposed to come to Australia with adequate funds and health insurance to support themselves. In the first instance, they should tap these funds as well as seek assistance from their own families and governments back home.

Remember that just over one month ago, the Council of International Students Australia was demanding the federal government loosen up restrictions on international students entering Australia, claiming it was racist and that many of these students are “children of “important and powerful influencers”. The federal government obliged.

Secondly, Australia’s universities should be called on before taxpayers for financial support. The universities have swelled their coffers from the multi-year boom in international students, as illustrated clearly below:

The universities also lobbied hard for the government to keep Australia’s international border open, as well as provided financial incentives of up to $7,500 for Chinese students to evade Australia’s travel ban via entry though third countries like Dubai and Thailand.

In the process, our universities very likely exacerbated the spread of the coronavirus and made the situation worse.

Australia’s greedy universities have displayed classic ‘moral hazard’ behaviour, whereby they have sought to privatise the gains from any international students evading the travel bans via extra fee revenue, while socialising the welfare and health costs on the Australian taxpayer.

The universities, not Australian taxpayers, should therefore be forced to pick up the financial costs of supporting international students through this crisis.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. It will turn to be quite profitable to be foreign student. You pay $5k or so in fees for a quarter and get $30k in welfare over the next 6 months

    • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

      $5k in fees per quarter ? try closer to $100k to $200k per year bracket

      a single subject for one semester at uni costs ~ $5k and that’s for a domestic student

      • majority of all foreign students are not uni students but rather fake students studying at non-uni levels and their family members
        a typical degree (BA or BC) fees at most of unis is around $25k per year (divided into 4 terms so 6-7k per term), fees for other certificates. diplomas or master cost as little as $10-15k per year. English courses that qualify for foreign student visa can cost as little as $300 per week

  2. Universities …. “provided financial incentives of up to $7,500 for Chinese students to evade Australia’s travel ban.”

    Yep, so they are more than capable of providing financial assistance to their cash cows.

    I’m losing track of how many organisations are onboard with this ‘privatise the profits, socialise the losses’ rort.

  3. BoomToBustMEMBER

    so we allow the international students to destroy our education system, rape and pillage our housing then provide them government benefits for bringing Covid-19 into our country. Why not give them a free apartment with it ??

    • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

      international students didn’t ruin anything. We did. If we didn’t defund our unis and change student visa rules and massively increase inbound migration numbers, they wouldn’t have come

      they couldnt do anything if we, the australian people and our elected officials, didn’t change all the rules that made it possible for them to come

      • That’s beside the point, although important, Right now, the Aus fed govt can kindly round up the lot of foreign students, and fly them home. Use Aus mi,itary planes if needed as they are here for the flyover for the car races in Melbourne, Bill the universities especially those who funded stay over s in Thailand and such on way here to incubate the viral load.
        We need simple clear decisions. Universities closed, you came here to study (hahaha). so we return you free of charge. Cheaper than supporting them, cheaper than enduring abuse and lobbying interference from them all.

  4. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    “The Council of International Students Australia (CISA), the peak body representing international students in Australia is calling for welfare packages with financial support for international students in Australia.”

    Just over one month ago, this same organisation was demanding the Federal Government loosen up the restrictions on international students entering Australia, claiming it was racist and that many of these students are ‘well connected’ and therefore (in a very unsubtle way) threatening the govt to open the borders. Which they did.

    See, for example: https://www.theeducatoronline.com/he/news/chinese-students-traumatised-by-coronavirus-stigma/270024

    Some choice quotes there. Oddly enough, the outspoken president of CISA, Ahmed Ademoglu, seems to have been replaced in public quotes by the “Education Officer”.

  5. “The universities, not Australian taxpayers, should therefore be forced to pick up the financial costs of supporting international students through this crisis.”

    Yep, make the greedy universities pay for this mess. They lured the students here in the first place.

    CISA is taking the p!ss.

  6. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    Wouldn’t the money be better spent by supporting Qantas to take any students suffering back to their country of origin? Then any Australians in those countries can hop on and come back to Australia if they want.

    • BubbleyMEMBER

      I’d rather it was Virgin. I (used to) see a lot of Virgin staff in my retail store. Absolutely delightful people and surprisingly they love the new CEO, not as in “he seems nice” but as in really loyal to him.

      I haven’t seen that sort of respect or admiration for any boss in a long time and especially not for that little Irish toady from Qantas, Alan Joyce.
      So yes, anyone wanting a one way ticket back to the PRC should get on board and temp residents/students/457’s etc get an automatic ticket home.

    • codeazureMEMBER

      I heard about a group of Thai students in Sydney who were getting worried and had booked to fly back to Thailand on 26 March. Just in time for their flights to be cancelled.
      They have been trying since to try to find some way to get home, and have resorted to sending a plea to the Thai Prime Minister via the local TV networks to try to get help to get home.
      I think it does make sense to encourage some airlines to keep running flights for non-citizens to get back to their home country. This story is almost certainly repeating for every country’s students here. The more we can send back the merrier.

  7. I’m okay with providing support on the proviso that we severely cut our temporary workers and international students in the future. I know that won’t happen, therefore I support assistance to return home, we can refund them some of their course fees as required.

  8. turncoatMEMBER

    The students need to go home now!

    They are a vector for virus dissemination because they are young and largely unaffected and have “no skin in the game”, because Granny is holed up back in Kathmandu.

  9. Andrejs Urdevics

    If a reduction is sought because the courses are on line there is no need for the students to remain in Australia. To get this high quality education they can access it online fom their homes.

  10. If a reduction is sought because the courses are on line there is no need for the students to remain in Australia. To get this high quality education they can access it online from their homes.

  11. It’s fair enough to ask for a reduction in fees if everything has moved to online. That should be enough welfare for them.

  12. “I have mixed feelings about having the federal government provide temporary financial support to international students”

    I have no idea why your feelings are mixed. There is no 2 ways about it – they are meant to have the funds to support themselves and to pay for private healthcare. They can get stuffed.

    As others have said – the only taxpayer funding I can countenance for this lot is a plane ride home which also gives Qantas or Virgin a bit of cash and might allow Aussies stranded o/s to return home on the return flight.

  13. I thought MB constantly debunked the great export myth that is international students.

    Overall it isn’t a great export when you factor in money leaving Australia to pay back loans and remittances.

    We aren’t losing out, as a country, if the students take the first flight out. VCs and migration agents on the other hand.

  14. I consider the fed government should kindly round up the international students and fly them back home. Bill the universities or other entities, particularly those who funded stay overs for virus multiplication in Thailand or such on the way here, The unis have closed, as has the other so called educative entity’s. It’s very simple, not Po,itical. Take them home, nice free trip for them.

  15. Bullshit. Students have to demonstrate the financial ability to study and live in Australia. if they were truthful about their finances from the beginning, they would not need financial assistance. the 20 hour a week work right is for pocket money, not income support. Fraud in the student visa program is endemic and widespread and has been a huge problem for Immigration staff in New Delhi. They do not have the resources to control the fraud.

  16. Answering your call Leith, a couple of unis have set up funding for students needing support – UniSA, Newcastle

    https://campusmorningmail.com.au/uni-sa-supports-really-supports-students-in-virus-crisis/

    Most universities are projecting zero new international students for next semester, that includes even students from USA and Germany let alone China and India. The hit to the bottom line is approaching – 5000 to 15,000 jobs will go. Many unis are now forcing staff to take leave in order to reduce their liabilities.

    https://campusmorningmail.com.au/news/vcs-and-union-in-united-front-talks-on-saving-jobs/

    University leaders are in crisis talks with the National Tertiary Education Union, as the system confronts a collective loss this year which could reach $15bn

    Who’s in: Charles Sturt U vice chancellor Andrew Vann is leading a group of VCs now in discussions with the union. He is joined by Margaret Gardner (Monash U), John Dewar (La Trobe U), and Jane den Hollander (UWA). Stuart Andrews, head of uni managements’ IR lobby, the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association is also there.

    Professor Vann warned CSU staff yesterday that the chance of no job losses in the present crisis is “extremely unlikely,” and that there are now discussions with the NTEU at a “national level” to “support job retention.” He added he hoped for “clarity” on protecting staff by end June.

    What this means: Observers suggest the timing and membership of this informal leadership group demonstrates the dimensions of the disaster they are charged with minimising. The vice chancellors involved are all pragmatists, well-connected to the government but also comfortable working with the NTEU leadership. That the union is said to be talking demonstrates an equally pragmatic approach. Federal officials will have their own internal critics who will argue hard against any concessions on jobs and conditions spelt out in enterprise agreements.

    Why they are talking: Because both sides need to. There are no all-uni numbers, but yesterday system-watchers put the COVID-19 cost for all-unis this year in a $5bn-$15bn range, with job losses of 5000 to 15 000. Institutions need to be doing something before asking for government support.

  17. BS.

    Can afford $30k per year in tuition fees for a next to worthless degree but can’t afford living costs. If they come here that marginal with their finances they shouldn’t be here. The 20 hours per week they are allowed to work is merely to supplement their spending, not for basics.

    Go home.

    If they can’t afford to live here now, how are they going to pay for their semester 2 tuition.