This week the Australian Government will start investigating dishonest practices by migration agents and education agents. Fraudulent practices by migration agents and student agencies have affected thousands of international students in Australia and have cost the students thousands and thousands of dollars.
This Wednesday, June 27th 2018, a public hearing will commence that will look into how effective the current regulation of Australian migration agents is. The Australian Government will investigate how fraud by migration agents and unprofessional conduct as well as other breaches can be avoided in the future. It will also collect evidence of unregistered migration agents and education agents that are providing unlawful immigration services in Australia. (Find out how you can make sure that you are choosing a registered migration agent).
The goal of the investigation is to come out with a report to the Australian Government to make recommendations and change the current fraudulent practices.
There are 3 regulators for educational services: The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students, the Education Services for International Student Act (ESOS 2000) and the Higher Education Standards Framework. Those 3 are overseen by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). TEQSA informs the schools and universities that it is their responsibility to ensure that the agents they work with act honestly and in the best interest of the international student.
Students can complain by contacting TEQSA or the Ombudsman. Interestingly enough though, is that the Ombudsman can only investigate complaints from students about education agents that have an agreement to represent an educational provider in Australia. The most common issues with education providers are complaints about students being enrolled in one course while being told they are enrolled in another, accepting tuition fees before agreements are signed, not passing the tuition fees on to the actual school and not giving the students a copy of the agreement. A list of all local student education agents, from all countries, can be found here.
No Regulation of Education Agents – Be careful whom you give your money to
Local Education Agents don’t seem to be regulated by anyone. So when students who had suffered extreme money loss from using the education agency “Tu Futuro”, no one seemed to be in charge. It wasn’t the police responsibility because it was not a crime in Australia but overseas. There was no one to report the case to, says K.A. a student affected by the fraudulent practices of “Tu Futuro”.
“Tu Futuro” has now disappeared with both the money and the involved education agents (read more stories from students who paid money to “Tu Futuro”).
Let’s hope that the public hearing and the investigations taken will have a positive impact on how education agencies are regulated in Australia and overseas.