India overtakes China as biggest international student source

Last year, the Department of Home Affairs tightened visa rules for students from India, Nepal and Pakistan, deeming them “high-risk” and requiring applicants to demonstrate strong English-language proficiency and prove increased financial capacity in order to qualify for a student visa.

These visa changes followed a Four Corners expose on Australia’s international student industry, which was especially scathing of the quality of students coming from the Indian sub-continent and reported widespread academic misconduct, plagiarism, and high failure rates.

The below correspondence from Murdoch University Professor, Benjamin Reilly, highlights the problems that have arisen from the strong growth in Indian students at Australia’s educational institutions, which has badly eroded pedagogical standards:

“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”…

Fellow lecturer and academic misconduct investigator, Dr Duncan Farrow, reported similar problems with Indian students failing en mass:

“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.

New Zealand recorded similar shenanigans last month, whereby large numbers of Indians arrived on student visas primarily for the purposes of paid employment and permanent residency:

In 2016, at the height of an export education boom, 11,024 Indians came to New Zealand on student visas.

Most came from the remote, rural Sikh-majority Punjab province, lured by promises made by unlicensed education agents and illusory sales pitches by tertiary institutions and our government that New Zealand offered a straightforward “pathway to residency”…

Bhavdeep Singh, who still hasn’t attained residency after five years of hard and allegedly exploitative work in a Rotorua liquor store, is scornful.

“Because the Government needed so much money, they got a huge amount of students without ILETS [English language qualifications] and other proper documents – so when they needed us, they can bring us without proper investigation,” he says. “Now when we need them, they are breaking [promises]”…

Half of all overseas students arrive here via an agent. And while immigration agents in this country must be licensed, offshore education agents are not. That means there’s no regulation of the promises they make…

Students will often borrow against land or homes to finance their study, but in some cases, says Malkiat Singh, agents construct sophisticated financial arrangements to skirt Immigration NZ inquiries into students’ finances…

Tertiary education recruitment from India has reached such an extent that many business courses will have an entirely Indian cohort. Some, says McClymont, will have a Hindi translator in the classroom…

Bhavdeep Singh laughs at the business courses he studied. “The education I was getting here I can compare to like my tenth grade school”…

The Indian students who come here tend to be poorer than from other countries, study at lower-quality establishments and need employment quickly…

“Every student who comes from overseas spends 30 grand on their studies – and nobody is going to spend that if they’re not going to get residency at the end.”

Both he and Bhavdeep Singh, who’ve taken employment court actions against their former employers, are angry that the residency rules keep changing, pushing the dream further away…

With this background in mind, it is disturbing to report that India (108,203) has overtaken China (108,155) to become Australia’s biggest source of international students, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ latest student visa report:

This comes after Indian student visa numbers surged by 14.3% in the year to June 2020.

Clearly, Australia’s education industry has reached deep down the quality barrel in order to keep the international student-migration ponzi going.

RIP university entry and pedagogical standards.

Leith van Onselen
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  1. India has the global lead for COVID cases if I’m not mistaken, so the politics of inviting those students back in any meaningful number will be interesting to watch.

    Personally I think it’s game over for them and won’t be back in anywhere near the same numbers we’ve seen in the last 5 years.

    • The current epidemic in VIC is the Indian strain of Covid-19

      The Indian who transferred it to the security guard was an individual who had recently got PR.

  2. I miss the 80s when it was the Japanese buying this country out from under us.
    Cant we have Japanese students coming here. I like the Japanese. And they bombed us once.
    Indian and the china students are just ughh !!!
    All the Japanese i have met are cultured and polite. Im not saying they all would be, but they would come with a high level of literacy and numeracy and likely good English. And they shower regular as well. Cant we try to attract students from Japan.
    Or even Korean.

    • SoCalSurfCreeperMEMBER

      Nepal is the head scratcher here. What the actual f*#k? Nepal has a per capita GDP of US$2,850. A year of tuition is about 10 times that. ‘Export’ lol.

      • Cheap labor for the hospitality industry. IIRC remittance from overseas is first or second in terms of industry for Nepal.

        Basically, DFAT, Dept Education and our illustrious universities send representatives to these third world countries and market citizenship via edumigration to them. They’re literally going from country to country and repeating.

        Africa is the next market on their lists but unsure how that will fly given how incomes are the lowest of any there. Except if you’re a Nigerian prince that inhabits the spam filter of DFATs inbox.

      • Yep, the ‘math’ is not hard: spend $30k (plus expenses) to get a Masters at a Strayan Uni, then go back home and try and get a job that pays you back in spades.

        Anyone with an ounce of common sense would see that’s non-starter. Only the genuinely wealthy could justify it.

    • Never fear, Angry, they’ll all have to meet the stringent Home Affairs criteria of four limbs plus a head.

      Besides which, I am enthralled that we can revert to the usual love-ins among Keneally, Rizvi, and Murphy, on the global social justice of Aussie mass immigration. Welcome back, Kristina.

  3. Jarri Haider has been on Q&A before:

    19 Mar 2018

    JARRI HAIDER asked: Under Donald Trump, the Wipe House has seen 18 firings and resignations, including most recently, Rex Tillerson from the role of Secretary of State. Clearly, this is an administration incapable of holding on to its own members for longer than a few months. Would it be wise to trust it with the fate of the free world as negotiations with North Korea approach?

    We should copy Dubai. Never give them citizenship.

    List of Indian Universities in Dubai

    • Dubai is effectively an apartheid state. They can do this because they’re rich from not giving away their natural resources for nothing.

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I love eating the exotic flavours from both countries so it’s hard for me to decide which one is more important to us. See, sometimes I’ll feel like some buttered chicken and other times some sweet and sour pork when dining at the y. It’s tough to decide.

  5. Arthur Schopenhauer

    We will know it’s over when the current crop of VCs and associated lackeys start resigning before their contracts are up, and moving overseas.
    A couple are regretfully moving on already…

  6. From the linked report, visas granted:

    Higher Education
    2018-19 20,382
    2019-20 6,907

    2018-19 8,216
    2019-20 7,892

    We now have a higher number of vocational visas granted than higher education which roughly equates to a higher number of workers rorting the visa system than those legitimately here for education purposes.

      • Their website says they are making roads “more safer”. Are you suggesting this is false advertising!?

    • Here, Here! As mentioned above, this vocational stream has risen from 25% of visas last year to 53% this year.
      At least in universities students must submit some work and turn up, not to mention a reasonable amount of money is made by the institution – In sham colleges, turning up or submitting work is optional, and we don’t even make any money out of it.

  7. It’s a modern day slave ring supported by the usual grasping suspects on the right and the soy latte sipping fake left of Australian politics..

    The ‘agent’ brings the ‘student’ in, pays their course or tuition fees and then puts them to work as indentured slaves for an indefinite period.

    For every subcontinental ‘student’ granted Permanent Residency and access to the trappings of a developed British Commonwealth country, several others fail to make the cut and remain slaves.

    If we had a proper political left in this country rather than an emasculated, pathetic excuse for a ‘Labor’ party, this would not be happening.

    • The agent also gets paid handsomely by the university. The agents who bring in the most students demand the highest payment. The agents are therefore incentivised to tell the students anything. Yes you get a scholarship for being so talented. Yes you get residency. Yes you can send for your newborn baby from Australia. They tell the university and dept home affairs anything. Yes english goodest. Yes studied previously. The kicker is the university and home affairs play along with the charade. TEQSA swings a wet lettuce. Must keep floor under house prices via student rental demand.

    • And if we had an ACTU that was not the flashing Christmas lights on the pile of Woke dung, pushing out memos on intersectionality and diversity, the union movement might spark to life as a political force. Today it has tied itself in knots over the labour movement’s historic support for the White Australia Policy as, back then, a way to protect worker rights and to prevent slavery akin to the American South – that was indeed beginning to flourish in Australia in several ways through the 1800s. I think we’ve now run the experiment. While the focus on skin colour was wrong, the consequence of allowing the bosses to be in charge of immigration policy means that we get slaves by default, because the desire for cheap labour trumps any principle that seeks true equality of opportunity and human dignity.

      Sally McManus ain’t up to the task, but because she’s a woman the ABC loves her. Together they work to ensure that no blunt working class sentiments are allowed to be heard. In reality, Sally McManus hates Australian working class values in the same way that the ABC hates them and the BBC hates its own citizens outside of London and Oxbridge.

      Sally McManus needs to be shown the door and the job given to an old world boof head who is not ashamed to say that the ALP has made itself the enemy of unionism and the Australian working and middle class.

      Just where is the union of academics, scientists, public servants, health workers etc and the union-based kick back? It has been smothered by the ACTU,ALP and corrupt officials who became enthralled with making money for their little elite with massive salaries they steal from their members. They became something worse than the bosses – they are traitors who steal from the vulnerable, make promises but won’t represent them.

      • The Union movement is dominated by the CFMEU who loves a Big Australia because it means lots of construction work for their members. Plus it’s a sector that hasn’t been flooded with migrants, so no competition for their members.

  8. good luck with Indian…. at meanwhile, you need to know: In the 12 months to November 2019, there were 1.44 million Chinese visitors to Australia, according to Tourism Australia. … This meant Chinese travellers contributed about A$12 billion to the Australian economy – or 27% of the total amount spent by all international visitors

    • And good luck to you Bob – you really need it:

      Mainland Chinese people have always been welcome in Australia, but that will change if the CCP wants to export its ideology and bulling and use them as pawns in its political games. You’d be wise to separate the two issues, as the CCP is quick to conflate them. Almost no one here trusts the CCP anymore – but every mainland Chinese person is an individual with a mind who deserves respect for the possibility that they too are victims and have their own views and opinions (see link). But if you can watch the above link and still think that A$12 billion is more important than resisting an authoritarian Orwellian state, you truly don’t understand what this is about.

      You don’t buy compliance for A$12 billion. If you think you can – hit the Belt and Road and don’t come back no more no more and enjoy your holidays as the CCP takes your holiday snaps via a CCD camera and monitors your mood states.

  9. So those from the subcontinent are ‘high risk’ as potential students but not as permanent resident applicants?