Concerns regarding the student's visa and visitor visa program
Mickey Mouse courses are leading a pathway to Australia. Labor employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor has called for stronger integrity measures on the student program and is open to the idea of putting a cap on the intake.
He has also raised an idea to put curbs in the working holiday- makers a separate visa subclass with limited work rights.
The number of overseas students in Australia reached 513,000 last September, up from 342,000 in the same month five years earlier, according to an analysis by the Parliamentary Library.
The number of temporary visitors on working holidays was 137,000 last September, down from 146,000 five years earlier.
Mr O’Connor has stated that “One of the problems we’ve had is people coming to Australia, signing up for Mickey Mouse courses,”.
Bob Birrell, a former Monash University researcher who now heads the Australian Population Research Institute, told Fairfax Media that changes to the program under Labor from 2009 to 2012 had helped drive the increase in student visas.
The government has already made some changes and making for overseas students to switch to skilled worker program but Mr Birell states that “ cutting of this visa churning process would be the best way to do it because it would not affect the bona fide students”.
Mr O’ Connor has also expressed concerns about visitors on working holidays who are taking jobs from others but did not call for a cap on the numbers.
He has stated to Sky News “ “Of course we can allow backpackers to work, and they are very important labour particularly in agriculture and other areas of our economy,”. However, they come here and work for seven days a week without any holidays and in many cases, it been exploited has led us to examine the use of that.
Mr O'Connor was also open to the idea of visa programs that encourage migrants to move to regional Australia, although it is unclear how the Turnbull government might enforce those rules if it adopted them.
Universities Australia chief Catriona Jackson declined to comment, saying she would do so “when and if there is a proposal on the table for consideration” on the issue.