AUSTRALIA: Crackdown on student recruitment

The failure of Australia's states to properly regulate the troubled college sector is putting at risk the AUD$15 billion (US$12.7 billion) export education industry and the federal government should consider a takeover, according to former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, report Guy Healy and Andrew Trounson for The Australian.

"Given suggestions and reports that this (lack of state supervision) has occurred, it would be a grave dereliction of national duty if you have the powers, but don't enforce them," he said. Ruddock held the immigration portfolio in 2001 when the Howard government made a crucial policy change allowing overseas students emerging from universities and vocational colleges to apply onshore for permanent residency as skilled migrants.

Former Liberal MP Bruce Baird, given carriage of the federal government's overseas students review, told The Australian's Higher Education Supplement this policy "seemed like a good idea at the time". But he was concerned that unscrupulous people in business had used the lure of permanent residency to recruit students for inadequate education. He foreshadowed a tough approach to abuses: "Unless there are sanctions, we are wasting our time," he said.
Full report on The Australian site