Rejected foreign students 'may try to stay in Oz'

A large number of foreign students may attempt to stay in Australia illegally as new, tighter regulations undermine their chances of permanent residency, an expert has said.

Immigration lawyer David Bitel of the Sydney firm Parish Patience predicted that at least 100,000 students who had enrolled when the rules gave reason to expect permanent residency could now fail to secure a visa under the new regime, announced earlier this year.

"In two to three years' time, what the government will find is there will be tens of thousands of illegals out there," he told the Australian.

"People are not just going to go [home]. They had an expectation [of permanent residence]. They're furious. They came here, they paid thousands of dollars."

The comments come after the then immigration minister Chris Evans announced in February new rules to make it much harder for foreign students to turn low-value Australian diplomas and degrees into permanent residency. The enforcement of such rules is sure to impact on foreign students looking to compare student finances and plan for the future.

According to the Australian, these kinds of diploma and degree offerings are now part of a multi-billion-dollar trade, with hairdressing, commercial cookery and business among the most in-demand fields.

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