Australia Warns Overseas Students About Unofficial Associations

By Editorial 15 November, 2013

The Government of New South Wales and the state's education sector have issued a warning to international students that a group that asks for personal information while purporting to represent overseas students is unrecognized.

The Overseas Students Association (OSA) has attempted to gather passport and visa information from foreign students in return for self-styled "safety cards" that do not offer any benefits, according to the warning.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner and Professor Caroline McMillen of the Vice-Chancellors' Committee confirmed that the group is not recognized by the NSW Government, education providers, industry peak bodies or international student organizations.

McMillen also claimed that the OSA had disrupted student elections, and she explained that there had been reports of threatening behavior. She added that some OSA representatives had been banned from campuses.

The Government statement further says that the use of NSW universities' logos on the OSA website is not approved, and that contrary to OSA promises, its "safety cards" cannot be used to claim discounts at museums. It adds that the recognized representative body for international students in New South Wales is the Council of International Students Australia (CISA).

The OSA is a subsidiary of the National Liaison Committee, which used to represent international students at the National Union of Students and is today owned by a businessman of Chinese origin. In response to the warning, the OSA issued a statement accusing Stoner of being "the public enemy of the Chinese, the Indian, the Muslim and all other Multicultural Communities in Australia" and threatening to sue the CISA.

Tags: Expat Groups | Australia | Education | Expats | Welfare | Education |


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