Australia to Impose Caps on International Student Enrollment, Tightens Regulations on Education Providers

Melbourne, VIC – In a bid to bolster the integrity and sustainability of Australia’s international education sector, the Albanese Government is set to introduce groundbreaking legislation next week. Spearheaded by the Minister for Education, Jason Clare, the legislation will empower the Minister to establish a maximum allocation for new international student enrollments across education providers.

For vocational education, these allocations will be determined based on advice from the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor. The proposed legislation encompasses a suite of measures aimed at enhancing the quality and integrity of international education, including provisions to prevent education providers from owning education agent businesses and pausing registrations for new international education providers and courses for up to 12 months.

Additionally, stringent requirements will be imposed on new providers seeking registration, mandating a proven track record of delivering quality education to domestic students before recruiting international students. Measures to cancel dormant provider registrations and prevent recruitment by providers under serious regulatory scrutiny are also on the agenda.

Furthermore, the Government plans to improve data sharing related to education agents and prohibit agent commissions on student transfers between providers within Australia. Minister Clare emphasized the significance of these reforms in safeguarding international students from unscrupulous practices while ensuring the sector’s long-term sustainability.

In conjunction with the legislative proposals, the Government has released a draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework. This framework aims to engage stakeholders in a consultative process to foster sustainable growth in international student enrollments, while prioritizing quality, integrity, and the welfare of both international and domestic students.

Minister Clare underscored the importance of creating a robust international education sector, stating, “Our international education sector is incredibly important to our country. These reforms are designed to ensure the integrity, quality, and ongoing sustainability of this vitally important sector.”

Minister O’Connor echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the Government’s commitment to curbing unethical practices within the VET sector. “There is no place for dodgy operators who undermine the strong reputation of the sector,” he asserted. “We are making it tougher for bottom-feeders to take advantage of international students for a quick buck.”

The Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, highlighted the alignment of these measures with the Government’s broader migration strategy, aimed at fostering a more strategic and sustainable migration system. “With international student visa grants back to pre-pandemic levels,” she noted, “the focus now shifts to ensuring numbers in the sector are managed more strategically over the long-term.”

The Government pledges to engage in comprehensive consultation with the sector on the proposed framework and anticipates releasing the final version later this year.


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