By Srini and Shane Bentley
SYDNEY — "Foreign students go AWOL", screamed the headline of the July 14 Australian. Three hundred international students are out of pocket and face the risk of deportation following the collapse of the National Business Management College in central Sydney.
The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs says that the students have a three-month grace period in which to contact authorities and join other colleges before their two-year study visas are reviewed.
According to the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, 64 students from the collapsed college have approached the department. Only 15 have been given places in other colleges. The fate of the other 49 students, let alone the 236 students who have not yet approached the department, has not been mentioned. The Australian article says the students have been forced to go "underground" in fear of immigration authorities.
This is another example of the heartless attitude of the federal government towards overseas students, regarding them as source of income rather then human beings.
International students pay full fees for higher education. They are a massive source of revenue: in 1996 overseas student expenditure in Australia reached over $3 billion, $1.3 billion of this tuition fees. Private colleges reaped $640 million — $286 million in fees and $354 million in goods and services.
The government provides few (in some cases zero) services to overseas students. In recent times, student visa fees have been doubled, other fees have been levied, and further restrictions on work rights have been introduced. International students are denied travel concession cards and are ineligible for Medicare benefits.
The psychological and financial hardships, and racism experienced by these students, are glossed over by sensationalist articles like that in the Australian.