Australia is globally renowned for its high-quality education system and diverse study opportunities. An integral part of Australia’s appeal is its flexible study pathways, one of which is “concurrent study”. However, this provision has recently come under scrutiny due to emerging concerns about potential misuse.
In this article, we explain what concurrent study is and why it is currently being discussed in the news.
What is concurrent study?
Concurrent study allows overseas students on a student visa to undertake additional study alongside their principal course. The intention behind this provision is to provide students with an opportunity to add onto their main academic program (for example, the undergraduate degree you came to Australia to study) with practical, employment-focused training. For instance, students might enrol in a university course while concurrently taking vocational courses in areas like hospitality training or Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification.
As outlined by the Australian Skills Quality Authority, any course undertaken by a student visa holder must be registered on CRICOS, and a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) should be issued for any additional study undertaken by the student.
Student visa holders who are seeking to undertake additional study should be aware of the requirements of their student visa and the need to:
- Remain enrolled in a registered course
- Achieve satisfactory course attendance, and
- Progress in their principal course of study.
Why is concurrent study in the news right now?
Despite the good intentions behind concurrent study, recent reports suggest a shift in its usage. Instead of being used as an add-on to principal study, there are concerns that a growing number of international students are choosing to abandon their primary university courses entirely, favouring more affordable vocational training courses instead. This pattern – known as ‘course-hopping’ – deviates from the original purpose of concurrent study and has sparked discussion around regulatory measures.
What are the potential implications of ‘course-hopping’?
The misuse of concurrent study isn’t without its repercussions. Students found to be in violation of their visa conditions could face consequences. According to an article by The PIE News, “at least 21 student visas have reportedly been cancelled since May, some of which were linked to concurrent study and course-switching.”
This serves as a reminder of the importance of making sure you’re informed and sticking to your visa regulations.
What if I legitimately want to change my course?
If you’re an international student contemplating a course change, remember the key is to have an open dialogue with your education provider. Their guidance will be invaluable in helping you understand the implications of your decisions and ensuring that your choices align with your long-term educational and career goals.
Despite the recent spotlight on potential misuse, concurrent study remains a great opportunity for international students to gain a well-rounded education. When used responsibly, it can truly enhance your academic experience, equip you with practical skills and increase your employability. As you navigate your academic journey in Australia, remember to remain informed and seek advice when needed.