The university representative informed that the Federation University issued the rule

Australia: In a surprise turn of events, an applicant was denied enrolment to the Melbourne Institute of Technology for being married for less than 18 months.

She was informed yesterday that new rules have come in place that require an applicant to be married for at least 18 months, if she wants to travel as a couple.

This requirement has caught off guard the applicant and her agent, Global Reach, which has been liaising with the university on her behalf.

“She has been given an offer letter from the university and then we asked for the confirmation of enrolment for the applicant to process visas,” a representative of Global Reach said.

That is when the University asked to send the marriage certificate, and other documents. The agent sent the documents along with photographic evidence of the applicant’s marriage.

After paying tuition fees, the applicant waited for two weeks to get the confirmation of enrolment.

The applicant’s husband, requesting anonymity, said, “It is disappointing to be rejected even after receiving the offer letter.”

Other education consultancies and placement firms are as surprised with this new requirements.

“If the university awarded the offer letter, there is no need to submit the marriage certificate to the university,” a consultancy firm director said.

Another said that this criterion was unreasonable.

“This is a requirement that the Australian High Commission would ask for when processing the visa application,” one of the consultants said.

Others said it could be due some confusion between the agent and the university.

“This is not the way things work in Australia; if there were new rules they would be communicated way in advance to agents so that applicants know,” an Australian alumnus said.

Global Reach representative Palden Tshering said that this could be a fallout from the corruption and spate of illegal activities that Bhutanese have been involved in over the past two years while in Australia.

This means that Bhutanese applicants, according to him, are now subject to more scrutiny, a new level being added with universities implementing such new rules.

He said it is time the government intervened to ensure the system of education consultancies and placement firms sending students overseas remains corruption free.

The word going round is that recently, a woman waited at the entrance of the institute that conducts IELTS examination in Thimphu and asked those who sat for the tests whether they have dependents.

Some said these additional checks for students applying higher studies in Australia, if true, indicate there is no trust on the documents notarised from the courts.

“In this case, our assessment level of visas, which is very good at present would slip into a more difficult one and applicants would have to fulfil a lot of requirements and need much more in their bank balance,” he said.

There are today 31 education consultancy and placement firms registered with the Department of Adult and Higher Education in the country.

Tshering Palden