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The response from Thursday’s Student Services carnival has been awesomesauce!!!! A lot of promising jaffies in sight. All the best to these amazing students and a big welcome from us in UMSU International!!!

Friday’s Food Adventure was a tasty success and Saturday’s Melbourne Adventure was a race to the pinnacle of fun. Tomorrow is our Lounge Party, so drop by the Intl Lounge to meet friends, play games and eat some.

 

 

Join UMSUINTL for our mid-year orientation events:

. 24th July (Thursday) Food Adventure

. 25th July (Friday) Amazing Race

. 29th July (Tuesday) Lounge Party

. 26th July (Sat) and 2nd Aug (Sat) Buddy Program

Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with our latest activities and events!INTL-LPBanner2-960x350

https://www.facebook.com/UMSUintl or simply search for UMSU International

UMSU INTL will be welcoming new international students during the the mid-year O-Week. As such, we are currently recruiting Local Buddies for our Food Adventure, Winter Race, and Buddy Program.

The orientation programs aim to introduce international students to Melbourne and its culture. Some activities include cruising around Melbourne city and checking out popular Melbourne attractions and restaurants while having fun. Local Buddies are expected to bond and help them settle down in Melbourne with continuous commitment in contacting and assisting the mentees throughout the semester or year.

The programs will run for 4 days between Thursday, 24th July and Saturday 2nd August. For further information and to sign up, please visit this page.

Applications shall will be closed on Friday, 11th July 2014. Sign up now and let’s have fun during Orientation!

Words by Yuzuha Oka

Yining Ong is an international student from Singapore. She is in the third year of the Bachelor of Arts majoring psychology and sociology. After finishing her honours year, she wants to get a job in Australia She is also the president of UMSU International.

“I like the working environment in Australia. It is more relaxed than in Asian countries and people are really nice. Also, there are more varieties in types of occupation for Arts students [here] than in Singapore.”

However, she is worried because getting a job as an international student can be very difficult. “Many companies require graduates to have Permanent Residency (PR). International students cannot even apply for a job in those cases.” Even getting an internship was tough for her; she says that companies often don’t reply to her applications, while she knows of local students getting a reply and even a placement.

“It’s a dilemma. In order to get a job, PR is often required. However, you need working experience to get PR. As a result you can get neither of them and end up leaving the country,” Ms Ong says.

To work after graduation, international students must have an appropriate visa. If they cannot get one, they must leave.

Not many international graduates get a visa that allows them work. In 2013, only 15.3 per cent of former student visa holders were granted Temporary Graduate Visas (subclass 485). It’s the most popular visa option for international graduates wanting to work in Australia. With it, students can stay temporarily to look for a job without previous work experience, regardless of their field.

It can be harder to get other working visas. According to the Student Visa Program Quarterly Report released in December, 3.2 per cent of former student visa holders received the Skilled-Independent Visa (subclass 189) , and 0.5 per cent the Employer Nomination Scheme Visa.

Reasons for not being eligible for the 485 Visa can vary, but include that an applicant’s course was less than two years long, or that the applicant applied for a student visa before 5 November 2011 and is not on the Skilled Occupation List.

“Students who are not eligible for the 485 will have very limited visa options,” Diana Hemmingway, senior ESOS and Visa Support Officer at the university says. “The migration law is really complex, and students need to refer to experts.”

Supports system exist for international students, provided both by the university and by student-run organisations. The University of Melbourne ESOS and Visa Support Service holds fortnightly information sessions about post-graduation visa options.

Students can access one-on-one appointments (in person, via email, or via Skype) and attend career events on campus. The service is available to students while enrolled and for up to one year after graduating.

Students@Work sources employment opportunities on campus for all students.

UMSU International also provides support. One example is the Student Experience Fair, where students can explore services the university and the state of Victoria provide. “UMSU International works as a bridge between the university and students organising scattered information for students and giving feedback to uni,” Ms Ong says.

Most international students (27.9 per cent, the largest proportion) proceeded to Tourist Visas in 2013 after graduating, according to the Department of Immigration. People carrying a Tourist Visa are not allowed to work.

However, some become permanent residents. Nam Kim, Advocacy Officer of Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) used to be an international student at the University of New South Wales. He now has a permanent residency and helping international students through AFIS.

Mr Kim says that the important thing is to find a mentor. He suggests international students from the same country can provide useful information if they have been in similar situations before. He found his own mentor in the Korean Society at university,. He points out that networking is the key. “Volunteer at the related field and get connected with the people,” he says. “You must be proactive and prepare.”

Words by Martin Ditmann  

An international-focused student group claiming to be Australia’s peak student body has been labelled fake by universities and government officials.

The Australian Student Association (ASA) has claimed it is “the national representative body for the Australian Student Community”, and has said it is “determined and prepared to play the vital role as the peak representative body”.

But the NSW government has condemned the ASA. “It is not supported or recognised by the NSW government, education providers, industry peak bodies, or international student organisations,” NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said. They have also condemned the ASA’s leader, known as Master Shang.

In a heated press release, senior ASA figure Sun Shuyang rejected these condemnations—accusing Stoner of supporting Pauline Hanson and “anti-Chinese” campaigns.

The ASA offers students a SAFETYCard program, which has caused further dispute.

It has claimed the SAFETYCard gives students better protection including police services. The association now claims to be working to increase the reach of the card and says it is police-backed.

However, some key police figures have rejected this claim.

A NSW Police document states that the SAFETYCard “does not deliver any immediate additional benefits for international students when dealing with NSW Police,” reads a NSW Police document.

The ASA has defended itself, claiming that the way student safety is conducted in Australia currently breaches human rights law.

The ASA has attracted past allegations of being aggressive and controversial, including allegedly bullying investigators from University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) student magazine Vertigo.

When Farrago contacted the ASA, we too faced a barrage of aggressive questioning. The ASA constantly questioned our intentions and asked why we were running this story.

The ASA has a rough history with student groups. It began in 1986 as the National Liaison Committee (NLC), a peak international student body backed by the National Union of Students (NUS). In 2009, the NUS disaffiliated the NLC, claiming the group had gone rogue.

After a controversial few years, the group now calls itself the ASA. It continues to act under various pseudonyms, such as the Overseas Students Association (OSA) and NLC.

The group’s presence and actions are often unpredictable and veiled. Last year, it surprisingly appeared in the UTS student elections. Andy Zephyr, now UTS student body president, claims that Master Shang spent four hours trying to do a preference deal with him. Zephyr rejected these overtures. However the group proceeded to campaign—without much success.

The ASA now seems to be focusing on increasing its reach—potentially setting the stage for future battles.

The ASA has a weaker presence in Victoria than in New South Wales. Office bearers from the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) claim that the group has been inactive at Melbourne over the past few years.

Rival bodies such as the Australian Federation for International Students (AFIS) are prepared to take action should the ASA attempt to expand in Victoria. This might be done in with direct warnings about the ASA to students.

“AFIS has always tried to stop their behaviour in Victoria—and we are always going to try and stop them,” said Nam-Ho Kim, an AFIS spokesperson.

At present, the ASA has said it would engage in legal proceedings over safety issues and claims made against it.

By Michelle See-Tho

International students can soon get a taste of the benefits of half-price public transport. The Victorian government has now granted international students access to concessions for public transport.

International students are eligible to purchase annual myki passes with the 50 per cent discount afforded to local students. However, they are not eligible to access the concession fare for other myki fare types—such as daily and weekly passes, and myki money. The annual myki pass, with a concession fare, can cost around $1000.

The three-year concession fare trial will begin in 2015.

In a university press release, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Sue Elliott said, “This concession scheme is a further step towards showing international students that they are welcome in Melbourne and are supported across the broader community.”

University of Melbourne Student Union Welfare Officer Kinsey Li said she was happy to see increased consideration for international students. “International students’ fees are already more than three times that of local students—it’s not like they’re in a well-off position. The transport concessions definitely make it easier for them, by reducing their living expenses, she said.

In the past, international students have been denied concessions for public transport. Li has been a strong advocate of the cause. Movements such as the Fair’s Fare petition have pushed for the change in recent years, with involvement from Li and other students, both local and international.