Overseas Student Gambling Problem

Overseas Student Gambling Problem Affecting Females

Overseas Student Gambling Problem Affecting Females

Research has uncovered an overseas student gambling problem in Australia especially amongst female students who seem more likely to develop a problem gambling habit.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald reports on research in the latest edition of the Journal of Gambling Studies comparing gambling rates among local and international students. Some of the results are worrying.

Researchers at Swinburne, Bond and Deakin universities surveyed 832 local students (286 males and 546 females), and 765 international students (369 males and 396 females) at three Australian universities. Two were in Victoria and one in Queensland.

The study’s findings conclude that although most university students don’t gamble often, about 5 per cent of those who do are problem gamblers. The figure is higher than for the rest of the population.

The most alarming figure is for male international students, almost 10 per cent of whom can be classified as problem gamblers. Their rate of gambling is more than twice that for female local and international students, and higher than male local students.

It’s a story about international students that we rarely hear about.

The study also concludes that female international students display higher rates of problem gambling than local students.

The researchers conclude that being an international student is a “significant” and “independent risk factor” for problem gambling.

“In other words, although international students gambled less frequently than domestic students, they were more likely to be vulnerable to problems when they did gamble.”

Why are there significant numbers of problem gamblers among international students?

It appears that being in Australia prompts many international students to bet.

The study shows that 59 per cent of international students who said they did not gamble before arriving in Australia reported gambling at least once in the past 12 months in Australia.

“While some of this change is likely to relate to factors such as reaching the legal age for gambling, it is feasible that increased accessibility may also have a role here,” the researchers say.

A high number of international students are from Asian countries where gambling is much more restricted than in Australia. Once overseas students arrive here they have many betting options.

The study shows that the most popular forms of betting for both local and international students are cards, sports betting, casino games and buying lottery or scratch-it tickets. Local students also like to bet on horse and dog races.

The study also says that international students are more at risk of problem gambling because of higher stress levels.

“International students reported higher levels of relationship stress, financial stress and socio-cultural adaptation stress, as well as more anxiety and depression than domestic students,” the researchers write.

“This is consistent with prior research indicating that international students have less social support, use less functional coping strategies, have more difficulty adjusting, and are more stressed than local students.”

What can be done to help problem gamblers?

Anna Thomas, one the study’s authors, told Third Degree that education programs can help prevent gambling problems from escalating.

Dr Thomas, an adjunct research fellow at Swinburne’s Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre, says if students learn the signs of problem gambling, they may be able to recognise them in their friends. This could prompt them to seek help.

Dr Thomas, also a senior research fellow at the Australian Gambling Centre, says students often go to family and friends if they are worried about their gambling.

However, many international students are reluctant to go to their families for help because they may be using family money to gamble instead of for their fees.

Dr Thomas says universities may only become aware that an international student has a gambling problem when their university fees don’t get paid.

Some universities, such as the Australian National University, have material about the warning signs of problem gambling on their counselling websites.

Last year, 323,612 international students were studying in Australia and 934,110 domestic students.

Student Visa Process Simplified For 2014

Student Visa ChangesThe Student Visa process simplified in 2014 will benefit students from a range of countries wanting to study in Australia.

The new Australian government is set to announce a series of steps to make its student visa regime simpler to attract more foreign students and revive the billion dollar higher eduction industry.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Education minister Christopher Pyne jointly announced that the new coalition Government were keen to revive the industry by undoing the damage done by the former Labor government, according to an official media statement.

The two ministers announced that steps would simplify student visas through a streamlined assessment-level framework (ALF) and by extending streamlined visa processing arrangements to low-risk non-university degree providers.

“The changes will assist all providers, but particularly the vocational education and training sector, making access to Australia’s education system more attractive for overseas students,” Morrison said.

“Assessment levels under the ALF would be reduced from five levels to three, while financial evidence for AL3 students would reduce from 18 months to 12 months, provided funds were from a close relative of the student applicant.

This would mean students from a number of key markets would be able to apply for a student visa with up to 40,000 Australian dollars less in the bank.

Streamlining of the visa application process that Morrison announced last week would benefit up to 22 low-risk non-university providers for students enrolled in Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree courses or an eligible exchange programme.

Pyne said the measures would attract more overseas students to Australia, benefit our education system, create Australian jobs and stimulate our economy.

“The non-university sector is an important contributor to our overall education exports,” Pyne said.

“These changes would allow the vocational training sector to contribute more freely to our plan to restore Australia’s tertiary education system to its former peak of almost 19 billion dollars in export income for the nation.


International Student Transport Concession Victoria

transport  concession victoriaThe Victorian government will introduce discounted public transport for international students from 2015.

But the new system may disappoint some students because the discounts will be available only on annual, full-fare Myki passes.

Final details of the three-year trial will be available next year. Students will be able to use the tickets on trains, trams and buses.

The government has confirmed the scheme will be available to students whose institutes have opted in to the program. Education providers will have to contribute to the cost of the tickets.

The scheme will apply to metropolitan zones one and two and regional areas.

The government said its scheme differed from a similar one in NSW, which was not available in all zones.

Rita Chiu a spokesperson from International Students Australia said students in Victoria have for a long time been disappointed and frustrated with the lack of a transport concession similar to what is available in NSW.

She said the concession on offer did not overcome this greviance because it was unusual for international students to buy annual tickets for public transport. “I don’t think students will be willing to commit that huge amount of money for a full-year ticket,” she said.


Australian 457 Visa Scam Uncovered


australian 457 visa scam

Australian 457 visa scam students being cheated after paying business man for sponsorship. A report by the ABC has uncovered some serious problems with international students being cheated.

A Sydney businessman has been accused of ripping off hundreds of foreign students over contracts for 457 and other work visas and making a death threat against a client.

Eddie Kang, the CEO of Singapore Oil, charges students up to $45,000 for providing a job placement and a work visa.

But a Lateline investigation has found that many of his clients get no job, no visa, and no full refund afterwards.

Chhabi Bhusal arrived in Australia from Nepal five years ago. Since then she has gained diplomas in commercial cookery and business.

When she started looking for employers who might sponsor her for permanent or semi-permanent residence she looked on the Gumtree website. There she saw advertisements for Mr Kang’s business.

Singapore Oil’s online advertisements begin: “Dear Potential Clients with Pain and Hardships.” But for Ms Bhusal, the pain and hardship was only just beginning.

After she visited Mr Kang’s office in North Sydney and signed a $20,000 contract, Ms Bhusal was promised work as a customer services manager at one of his companies, Icon Pacific.

“I was requesting to him if he could show me the workplace where I was supposed to work,” Ms Bhusal said. “And he said, ‘yeah I can show you tomorrow, I can show you tomorrow’.

“He did that all the time and he didn’t show me where the workplace was and finally the visa was refused.”

Six months after she signed the contract with Singapore Oil, the Department of Immigration refused her application for a visa on May 24.

The department noted Mr Kang’s business had already applied for sponsorship for at least four customer service managers for a small cafe in an Adelaide shopping mall with a turnover of just $250,000 per year.

The following month, Ms Bhusal received an email from Mr Kang that stated: “We hereby confirm that final deadline for 457 visa case for you would be 15th of July 2013. If not approved, the full refund will be made to you.”

But that full refund never came. Ms Bhusal got no job, no 457 visa, no full refund.

A year after she signed her contract, Ms Bhusal says she is still waiting on around $7,000.

Victims could number in hundreds: migration agent

Karl Konrad, a former police officer who now runs the migration agency Australian Immigration Law Services, estimates that Mr Kang’s victims could number in the hundreds.

“We suspect there is probably anywhere between two to four hundred victims of Mr Kang,” Mr Konrad said.

“It’s a bit hard to ascertain at the moment because Immigration won’t tell us any precise numbers.

“He’s been lodging multiple applications to various government departments around the country and getting multiple refusals.”

But Mr Kang rejects the claims made by Mr Konrad.

“It’s not true. Maybe what he meant is in the middle of the process there is a declined case and we always appeal and we make it to the proper stage again.”

When asked how many cases he had at this stage, Mr Kang told Lateline: “Around a hundred roughly at the moment, could be fifty.”

Claims of death threats denied

Lateline has obtained a recording of a death threat made by Mr Kang against a client of Singapore Oil.

The Nepalese man, who requested anonymity, was planning to take Mr Kang to a consumer affairs tribunal.

During a phone conversation, Mr Kang threatened to kill him.

“I kill you man… Where are you now?” Mr Kang asks the student, “What’s your address there?”

When Lateline asked Mr Kang if he made death threats against clients, he said, “No, never.”

When Mr Kang was played the recording of the death threat, he denied it was a death threat.

“No, no. I deny that. He did the same thing to me. He said he’s going to send me the Nepalese mafia.”

Mr Kang’s client denies he made a death threat against Mr Kang.

Hairdresser handed over $15,000

Shiva Niraula is another Nepalese national who claims to have been ripped off by Mr Kang.

“In one word he is a conman,” Ms Niraula said.

“He cheats you and flies and I’m thinking he will fly from Australia very soon.”

A trained hairdresser, Ms Niraula signed a contract with another of Mr Kang’s companies, Adelaide Petroleum and Hospitality, in January.

She handed over $15,000 but then found out the company did not have sponsorship approval from the Department of Immigration.

Ms Niraula says Mr Kang still owes her $9000, or $11,000 if you count the interest on the loan she took out to pay the fee.

A foreign student from Bangladesh has told Lateline he paid $15,000 for a visa to work as a cook at another of Mr Kang’s businesses in Sydney. When he showed up at the address on his contract, the restaurant no longer existed.

Students’ claims are ‘vicious rumour’

When asked where all the students’ money had gone, Mr Kang responded: “That’s another vicious rumour they are spreading at the moment. We don’t actually use these people’s money for any other investment or something like that – that’s not possible.”

Mr Kang did confirm he had plans to borrow $7.6 million to develop a site.

When asked if that meant he could afford to pay the students back their money, he responded: “You are principally wrong and that’s just an unfounded accusation again – you’re trying to say all this money should be immediately refunded to all these people which is not true – they are breaching the contract.”

Singapore Oil’s contracts last 27 months. Part of the agreement is there should be “no harsh pressure or excessive phone calls or visitation by/from the client.”

But the students are frustrated Mr Kang has failed to deliver promised jobs and visas, leaving them owing thousands of dollars to family members and banks.

The students fear they will not get their money back. The contracts state that Singapore Oil is incorporated in Singapore and that the contracts will be governed by Singaporean law.

Immigration officials ‘did not want to know’

Karl Konrad says he alerted the Department of Immigration about the activities of Mr Kang six months ago.

“Quite simply it was as if they did not want to know,” Mr Konrad said.

“I then put in an email to the manager of the 457 business section in Sydney complaining ‘why haven’t you contacted me? Why haven’t you done anything about Mr Kang?’

“We then got a phone call back saying ‘we know about Mr Kang and we’re going to do something’.”

In a statement to Lateline, Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison said: “My department is aware of the matters raised by Mr Konrad. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on an active investigation.”

Ms Niraula still cannot believe Mr Kang is able to hold onto her money.

“In Australia I hadn’t seen people cheating each other, because everyone is happy. Everybody is doing their own business.

“This is the first time I have seen the people who are interested to take other’s money. You know he’s not doing his business. He is ruining our lives for his business.”

Read more at ABC Online

India and China Increase Demand for International Student MBA Programs

Indian international MBA studentsYoung graduates from India and China are powering the growth of full-time international MBA  programs worldwide. In contrast, the share of working people planning to pursue an MBA—through online, executive or part-time mode—is plummeting.

The Times of India reports on an ongoing increase in the number of graduates from India and China who are enrolling in International Students MBA programs around the world.

These trends emerged in the latest survey of 328 graduate B-schools in 42 countries by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which conducts the GMAT. It shows 31% MBA programmes worldwide received the second largest number of applications from India. Business schools in the US have gained, while those in the Asia-Pacific have witnessed a decline.

US B-schools continue to be popular destinations for aspirants from China and India and the overall growth is largely driven by male candidates.

“There was a noticeable increase in programmes where India was the greatest source of talent (24% programmes) compared to last year’s survey results (14%),” said Michelle Sparkman Renz, director of research communications for GMAC.

Globally, the full-time two-year MBA received about 4.1 applications for each available spot, whereas the full-time one-year programme had around 2.7 candidates vying for every seat.

“In 2008 and 2009, early in the Great Recession, there was impressive growth in the share of full-time MBA programmes showing application increases,” said Lawrence Rudner, GMAC vice-president, research and development. “In 2010 and 2011, there was a decline, but full-time programmes began to rebound in 2012 and look sturdier today.”

Of all forms, executive MBA—which promises a climb up the corporate ladder—had the most dismal year, with every second college reporting a fall in the application count. The uncertainty of the times, increasing work demands, depleting savings and fears of the next round of layoffs—all dictated this fall.

The latest GMAC survey, released globally on Tuesday, revealed that fewer professionals wanted to invest time and energy in further education.

A fall in international students once again kept the growth of European business schools lean, with just 38% of full-time one-year MBA programmes witnessing an increase in applications. Close to 54% of European programmes reported a decline in their foreign candidate pool.

In contrast, a drop in domestic applications led to a decline in applications in Asia-Pacific. Just 46% of two-year full-time programmes in the region reported increased applications in 2013 compared with 79% in 2012. Similarly, only 53% of one-year full-time programmes had increased applications in 2013 compared with 77% in 2012.

“The current slowdown in applications for full-time two-year MBA programmes in the Asia-Pacific region is occurring at the same time when the rate of economic growth in the region is slowing down, most notably in China,” the survey report said.

International students from China and India continue to dominate the numbers of overseas students choosing to study in Australia. This includes both the undergraduate and the postgraduate sectors, with international students enrolling in business schools to improve their employment prospects.

Exploitation of overseas students must end

student cleaners

Exploitation of Overseas Students Must Stop

Dr Joanna Howe from the University of Adelaide has written the following excellent article on the exploitation of overseas students.

Underpaying foreign students who work as cleaners is not only unjust, it is bad for Australia’s reputation and undercuts our wages and conditions.

If Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne are serious about rebuilding the international education market they need to pay close attention to the report released this week uncovering the exploitation of international students working in the cleaning industry.

The Coalition has promised to increase revenue to universities and vocational colleges within 100 days of being elected by extending post-study visas for international students. This plan will not entice more international students if we keep turning a blind eye to the exploitation of these students when they are in the Australian workplace.

As Helen Szoke, a former race discrimination commissioner has observed, “what we don’t want are international students going home telling stories about being treated badly or being treated in a way which constitutes racism”.

United Voice’s report found that underpayment of international students was occurring in at least one in four city offices. Many of these workers were being employed illegally in what appeared to be sham contracting arrangements and sometimes without any paperwork. Three out of four international students knew little or nothing about their rights at work, and many were subject to abuse and intimidation.

Of gravest concern however, is the way dodgy cleaning contractors are using international students to undercut Australian wages and conditions. These contractors are cutting costs by using shadow cleaning sub-contractors that exploit international students, whom they employ as cleaners in city office buildings by underpaying them up to $15,000 a year.

Many of these workers are being paid a miserable $15 an hour, despite a union-backed starting wage rate of $24.35, which most Australian cleaning workers are on.

This means many international students live just above the poverty line with average earnings of only $325.86 a week after tax from their cleaning work. It also means Australian cleaners are being priced out of the job market because of this exploitation of international students working in the cleaning industry.

It is patently obvious that something needs to be done. Australia’s higher education sector cannot afford the exploitation of international student workers to tarnish our reputation. Australia’s international education activities generate more than $15 billion in export income a year, supporting more than 100,000 local jobs. The underpayment of international students in the cleaning industry also undermines local labour standards and puts downward pressure on wages and conditions.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these international students are receiving less than a fair deal at work and they deserve much better: in fact, no less than justice and equal treatment in terms of wages and conditions.

A Coalition government plan to deregulate the international education market in order to rebuild it will not work if it stops there. The Coalition needs to focus not only on increasing the domestic work opportunities for international students but on ensuring that once in the workplace, these workers are treated in an equivalent way to their Australian counterparts.

Dr Joanna Howe is a lecturer in law at the University of Adelaide and researches the treatment of foreign workers in the domestic labour market.



Call for Funding Increase for Higher Education

Higher Education Funding Increase

Call for Higher Education Funding Increase

The University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) vice-chancellor says the incoming Federal Government must consider boosting funding to the higher education sector.

Earlier this year, the former Labor government cut $2 billion in university funding to help pay for its Gonski school reforms.

Professor Jan Thomas says the Coalition has indicated it will not increase grants to the sector but she is hoping the Government will change its mind.

“We’d also be asking them to look at considering a properly indexed formula per student of investment because the government hasn’t associated the funding for universities as a per student investment,” she said.

The university would adopt this formula to assure every student is dealt with individually to ensure equality across the board.

“We’d be looking at an indexed formula per student investment to make sure that every single student gets the education they deserve,” professor Thomas said.

Meanwhile, she says international enrolments at the university are starting to rise again now that the Australian dollar is falling.

With the falling dollar, the vice-chancellor has urged the incoming Government to make it easier for international students to study in Australia.


Chinese investor buys AU$17 million sydney penthouse for student children

sydney penthouse

Chinese investor buys AU$17 million Sydney penthouse for his children in Sydney

A Chinese investor has smashed the record for CBD apartment prices, snatching up a luxury Sydney penthouse for $17 million.

The 800 square metre flat, known as the Sulman Penthouse, is at the top of The Residence complex and boasts a pool terrace with views of Sydney Harbour.

Fairfax reports that the three-bedroom property’s roof garden, private spa and marble bathrooms are set to be enjoyed by the buyer’s children, who are at university in Sydney.

The property was advertised as “the most extraordinary penthouse ever to be offered in Sydney”.

The purchase price clocks in at $250,000 more than the previous CBD record set in 2008 by the sale of the penthouse at The Toaster in Bennelong.

The title of most expensive apartment ever sold in Sydney (and Australia) belongs to two adjoining double storey penthouses in the prestigious Pacific Bondi Beach development, which investor Will Vicars purchased last June for a cool $21 million.