Bid to end international student poaching

International students. | Newsreel
New reforms aim to improve the integrity of the international student sector. | Photo: Shih Wei (iStock)

The scrapping of commissions on student transfers and new accommodation requirements for universities are among the proposed changes in Australia’s international student sector.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare is set to introduce legislation which the Government says will support the integrity and sustainability of the sector.

Minister Clare said the legislation would allow him to set an allocation for the maximum number of new international student enrolments education providers could offer.

“If universities want to enrol international students above that limit, they will be required to establish additional, new supply of purpose-built student accommodation to benefit both international and domestic students and free up pressure on the rental market,” he said.

Among the changes is the prohibition of agent commissions on student transfers between providers in Australia “to remove incentives for unscrupulous agents and providers to ‘poach’ students”.

The Minister said the legislation would also:

  • Prevent education providers from owning education agent businesses.
  • Pause applications for registration from new international education providers and of new courses from existing providers for periods of up to 12 months.
  • Require new providers seeking registration to demonstrate a track record of quality education delivery to domestic students before they are allowed to recruit international students.
  • Cancel dormant provider registrations to prevent them being used as a market entry tool by unscrupulous actors.
  • Prevent providers under serious regulatory investigation from recruiting new international students.
  • Improve the sharing of data relating to education agents.

The legislation will support the newly-released International Education and Skills Strategic Framework, which aims to support consultation with the sector on how to implement a system of sustainable, managed growth in international student enrolments.