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An estimated 54,000 international students arrived in Australia during March.

Uni’s ban Indian students as fraudulent visa applications soar

At least four Australian universities have restricted students from multiple Indian states from applying for study following a surge in fraudulent visa applications flagged by the Home Affairs Department.

Victoria University, Edith Cowan University, Torrens University, and agents working with Southern Cross University implemented further restrictions on overseas applications earlier this year.

This followed concerns over a rise in 'non-genuine' visa applications by students.

"Since the re-opening of Australia's border, there has been an increase in attempts to obtain a student visa using fraudulent documentation or information, including by applicants from India," a department spokesperson told Campus Review

"The Department of Home Affairs will refuse a visa application where fraud is present, and a non-grant period may apply for applications refused due to the presence of fraud."

From July 2022 to February 2023, federal immigration only accepted 16.5 per cent of applications from India to study in Australia's vocational sector.

Pre-pandemic rates of accepted visa applications from India was 28 per cent.

In January, Edith Cowan University temporarily paused undergraduate student recruitment from Punjab and Haryana, but has continued to accept postgraduate applications.

ECU deputy Vice-Chancellor Jake Garman told Campus Review the temporary pause allowed the university to review its admissions processes and setting for the region.

"This prudent step by ECU is allowing us to undertake a review and refinement of our undergraduate admissions settings for 2024 to ensure we maintain the highest standards," Garman said.

Following prime minister Anthony Albanese's visit to India in March, Victoria University imposed additional requirements for international students from eight Indian states, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

A Victoria University spokesperson told Campus Review the university has continued to recruit students across India based on academic requirements.

"We are imposing additional requirements for applicants from certain states in India," a VU spokesperson said.

"This includes assessing gaps in applicants' study history to determine if they are suitably qualified and prepared for international study in Australia and can support themselves adequately. "

Southern Cross University spokesperson also said the university follows federal requirements for all student visa applicants.

"We are aware some agents are adopting a more selective position," they said. 

Reports emerged last week alleging that the University of Wollongong was restricting applications from Indian students living in specific regions.

The university has denied this.

"Rather than introducing restrictions, we have streamlined our application process for all international students, including Indian students, which will speed up turnaround times on their applications," a UOW spokesperson told Campus Review.

UOW said its overall overseas application refusal rate over the past 12 months has been 'low', with a small number cases based on fraud.

In Australia, all offshore students applying for a visa are assessed on individual cases and against legal requirements based on migration legislation.

To successfully enrol students must prove their financial position, English level, and write a letter stating they don't intend to immigrate permanently after studying.

Home affairs said international student recruitment and vetting processes are a matter for individual education providers.

According to federal data more than 140,000 international students arrived in Australia in February, which is 22.5 per cent lower than 2019.

University applications from Indian students are forecast to rise by over 75,000 after both governments signed an agreement in March to enable citizens to travel, work and study anywhere in India and Australia.

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