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AAERI agenda to safeguard Indian students in Austeralia
AAERI has been working towards reinforcing Australia's standing as a high quality education destination for all genuine students and is strongly lobbying with the government bodies in both countries to ensure the same.

IN LIGHT of the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia, the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI), the self-regulatory body of education agents, is working closely with the Indian and Australian governments to weed out any issues that concern the security of Indian students in Australia.

AAERI has been working towards reinforcing Australia’s standing as a high quality education destination for all genuine students and is strongly lobbying with the government bodies in both countries to ensure the same.
 
Thus, to accelerate its agenda of ensuring the safety of Indian students studying in Australia, AAERI has developed an eight point ‘Action Plan’to address challenges faced by Indian students in Australia.
 
Its first step would be to work in conjunction with DIAC and AEI to ensure student safety. The DIAC (Department of Immigration and Citizenship), AEI (Australia Education International) and AHC (Australian High Commissioner) are working closely with AAERI members on modules which will serve as guiding principles for Indian students planning to study in Australia. These modules focus on the essential ‘do’s and don’ts’ as part of pre departure briefings.
 
Secondly, the association is liaising with the Australian and Indian government to weed out unscrupulous agents and ensure authenticity of students. The body does so by feeding both governments of any fraudulent practices, such as unscrupulous agents, a task it has undertaken in the past too.
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Simultaneously, AAERI executive committee will continue working closely with the Indian Government and provide them with industry intelligence to ensure only genuine students go to Australia, through the right channels and to quality institutes.
 
The body, thirdly, will maintain a constant interaction with the Australian government to voice concerns of the Indian student community and protect their interests. For this, deliberations have been held with the Indian High Commissioner and the Consul Generals in Australia to safeguard the interests of Indian student community.
 
Recently, AAERI had been strongly advocating students opting for Vocational courses to be interviewed in person or on the phone and also the eVisa lodgment should have more stringent checks and balances. This concern has also been shared with the Indian commissioner Ms Sujata Singh in Canberra on the July 23. The Australian government has taken action too in this regard, by upgrading the interview process for the applicants and restricting online eVisa access facility for erring agents.
 
Moreover, AAERI has also decided to facilitate interface of students with Indian communities in Australia for better exchange of ground realities. For this, it is working closely with the Indian community in Australia, to understand the on ground situation and their concerns.
 
The Indian Society in Australia has taken certain initiatives as well. Indian students are regularly invited to participate in Indian cultural festivals by them and mingle with the existing Indian community there. This will make the students feel at the home in Australia. The Indian community is also deeply involved in conducting polling for the Indian students in Australia and wants to understand and solve the problems faced by them. This will encourage the students not to take the law in their hands, which is a concern for the Australian government. The Indian community leaders in Sydney and Melbourne are proactively writing regular articles to the potential students in the AAERI’s newsletter.
 
Further, a student redressal cell shall be activated soon. The disciplinary committee of AAERI will be strengthened and will work closely with authorities in India and Australia to act on substantiated complaints from students immediately. Students will also be encouraged to lodge complaints against any erring AAERI agent members to the committee.
 
AAERI members would also be trained with the aid of visa training workshops across India. These workshops will be held in conjunction with DIAC to enable agents to help students during the entire visa processing stage. They would be particularly taught to identify and route “positive profile” students to the visa level, while simultaneously weeding out fake student applications.
 
Moreover, stricter norms would be undertaken for AAERI members, with the organisation undertaking regular, exhaustive audits of its current ‘Code of Ethics’ followed by all 160 members and keep improving ‘Entry Norms’, to ensure all students are assured of quality professional advise at every step.
 
Lastly, the regulating body would become a neutral partner for both students and education providers in Australia in case of conflict of interest.
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