Australia to waive fees for 'stranded' international students

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Canberra, Nov. 9 (ANI): In a bid to bail-out international students who were left stranded in Australia after 12 colleges collapsed, the Government has decided to waive fees for 4,700 students reapplying to study at new institutions.

"Where an education provider can no longer offer a course, the government's primary concern is the welfare of the student. We understand that these situations are not the fault of the student," Xinhua quoted Australia's Immigration Minister Chris Evans, as saying.

International students crippled by a spree of college foreclosures will be exempted from paying 540 Australian dollars visa fees to stay on in Australia.

Last week, the Meridian International left thousands of students in Melbourne and Sydney looking for new courses or refunds.

Meanwhile, the government will raise the amount of savings international students need to demonstrate they can afford life in Australia.

From 2010, prospective overseas students must show they can access at least 18,000 Australian dollars a year, on top of tuition fees, up from 12,000 Australian dollars.

"International students can supplement their income through part-time work in Australia but the primary purpose of a student visa is to study and students should not rely on part-time work to meet their expenses," Evans said.

Despite negative reports worldwide about international students in Australia living in poverty and being attacked, international students to Australia grew by a fifth in the year to June 30.

Indians overtook Chinese as the biggest student market, with more than 65,000 students were granted visas last year, increasing 37 percent from the year before. (ANI)

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