Private hairdressing college in Australia shuts down

The closure of the privately-owned college is being seen as a result of the amended immigration rules announced earlier this month that delinked certain trade occupations including hairdressing and cookery from Australian permanent residency

A hairdressing college in Australia has permanently shut down, leaving the fate of many overseas students including Indians hanging in the balance, apparently due to the amended migration skills programme, reports PTI.

The Sydney college that charged $7,000 (Australian dollars) from each overseas student as fees and equipment three weeks ago has announced its closure.

A 24-year-old hairdressing student Neil Ahuja of New Delhi was quoted as saying that he had paid the college $5,000 for his first semester fees and $2,000 for equipment.

"We asked the principal of the academy about the course after the new rules were announced. She told us, 'Don't worry, you guys are safe'," Mr Ahuja was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

"They had been pressurising us to pay the $2,000 for our hairdressing kit, which we could have got for a few hundred dollars. Otherwise we couldn't do the course. Now we have been left high and dry. I just arrived in Australia and I don't know what to do," said Mr Ahuja.

Students and staff were locked out of The Edge Academy, whose registration renewal was under consideration by state government authorities.

The closure of the privately-owned college in Sydney is being seen as a result of the amended immigration rules announced earlier this month that delinked certain trade occupations including hairdressing and cookery from permanent residency.
The new immigration rules aimed to crack down on dodgy education providers that were reportedly luring foreign students with guaranteed permanent residency.

Private colleges that were charging students fees of over $20,000 a year to do courses that cost Australian students only hundreds of dollars, now fear a catastrophe.

The Edge Academy has been a registered training organisation with the NSW Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board (VETAB) since December 2004.

The organisation currently has 66 students studying with 95 pending enrolments. A VETAB spokesman said that they were told by owners of the academy that reasons for the closure included the changes to federal government policy.

"Overseas students are entitled to a full refund of their fees from the Education Services for Overseas Students Assurance Fund," he said. "Domestic students can seek restitution from the NSW Office of Fair Trading."

College principal and managing director Judy Gabbert was unavailable for comment. An India-based education agent Ravi Lochan said, "Most of the closures were not due to any rapid audit but due to voluntary administration, which saw lesser visas meaning lesser students and hence lesser profitability."

"Student visa (regulations) for the diploma students were really tightened in September and they refused to grant visas for these (students) without interviews. This was possibly in response to what the Indian Government wanted. The tightening of the visa norms also led to lesser students at some colleges which led to closures (such as Meridian College in Victoria) and not any action by the Victorian government on them as many in India believe," Mr Lochan said.
 

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