Regulators are fighting overseas student poaching by universities.

Investigations are underway and a clear warning has been issued to educational providers to uphold ethical recruitment standards, with a rise in misconduct coinciding with an unprecedented surge in international student enrollments from specific countries. 

Notably, new Indian students have risen by 120 per cent to 25,262, Nepalese students by 32 per cent to 10,000, and Pakistani students by 221 per cent to 4,454.

Unscrupulous education agents exploit a visa loophole that enables students to swiftly switch from one university to another, resulting in dual enrollments. 

Additionally, financial incentives are offered to students after their compulsory six-month period with the initial provider.

Chief commissioner of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, Peter Coaldrake, has cautioned 198 universities and colleges to safeguard academic integrity and regulate the behaviour of education agents.

Investigations target several providers for unethical student recruitment practices, including Torrens University. 

The institution is accused of using onshore agents to attract students from other universities, enticing them with a “35 per cent scholarship”.

To address the issue, Phil Honeywood of the International Education Association of Australia has proposed extending mandatory enrollment periods, requiring new visas for provider switches, and regulating education agents to prevent large commissions.

Dubious agents receive hefty commissions, up to $13,000, leading to students switching institutions before the required six-month period. 

More details are accessible here.