Brisbane College considers legal action against Federal Government
Kelly Colleges this week sent a letter of demand to Australian Immigration Minister Senator Chris Bowen, who recently announced changes to the Migration Regulations Act 1994 which groups different education courses under different sub-classes of student visas.
As a result, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas registered under the Higher Education Sector Framework are being moved to a more favourable visa subclass compared with those registered under the Australian Quality Training Framework. This is despite both frameworks delivering the same tertiary level outcomes for international students.
The Australian Government’s previous spate of changes to student visa regulations last year have resulted in a 30 per cent decline in international student visa applications to date. Despite this, it receives very little proportionate support and consideration from government and has been pummelled by the Department of Immigration in a unprecedented and constant barrage of last minute policy changes which training organizations are having increasing difficulty keeping up with.
“This is not about playing politics anymore”, says Natasha Mayrseidl director, “this is now about peoples’ lives. Working Australians are losing their jobs” Kelly Colleges Director Natasha Mayrseidl said the latest round of student visa regulation changes made it even more difficult for good students to come to Australia, essentially driving them to Canada and the United States who are welcoming this boost to their economies.
“It is deplorable what the Department of Immigration is doing to our industry and the people who depend on it for their livelihood,” she said. “As Australia’s third largest export industry, the international education sector contributes
significantly to Australia’s economy. Despite this fact, it receives very little proportionate support and consideration and has been pummelled by the Department of Immigration in a constant barrage of last minute policy changes which training organisations are having increasing difficulty keeping up with.
“The profound effect the continued drop in international students will have on other industries such as tourism and retail will be devastating and will have a domino effect across the nation.
“Kelly Colleges is only a small college but has taken the move to stand up for international education in a big way. This is definitely a case of David and Goliath. This was not a decision I came to lightly – but we need to stand up and be counted; to give Minister Bowen the message that there are better, more viable alternatives.
“Kelly Colleges employs 50 Australians who rely on the college for their livelihoods. If you multiply this amount by the number of colleges across Australia – it doesn’t take a mathematician to see that a lot of Australians will be out of jobs.”
Kelly Colleges has been training Australians and international students since it opened its doors in 1975. Most International students who study in programs at Kelly Colleges go on to study bachelor Degrees at respected Queensland universities and then use their valuable Australian degree to seek meaningful employment back in their home countries.
“These are good kids – they come here and contribute to our economy because they see a great value and benefit to an Australian education. We should be proud of this. We should be supporting this,” Ms Mayrseidl said.
“In recent years there has been a rapidly growing misconception that international students somehow take from Australians. But this is untrue. Aussies have big hearts and are very welcoming. International students contribute to our national image and enrich our cultural interactions; anyone who has ever had the positive experience of being a home stay family can relate to this. They also subsidize tuition fees for Australian students, create jobs and inject massive sums of money into the local community by their support of our tourism and retail industries.”
Natasha Mayrseidl, Managing Director, Kelly Colleges, Mobile: 0414 370 154