Newsletter November




Hi all,

I am humbled, honored and privileged to pen down my heartfelt greetings to you all as the National President of Council of International Students Australia.

The Council of International Students Australia (CISA) was founded in 2010, since then is the peak representative body of the international students in Australia advocating their interests and needs in Australia. CISA puts a premium on multiculturalism and gives priority to the engagement of international students underpinning the workplace exploitation issues, welfare considerations, academic and career development of past, present and prospective international students.

CISA 2017/18 executive committee along with the volunteer assistants have initiated a prodigious strategic plan to enhance the current progress of the council’s service to international students and fabricate their personal profiles. It is with pride that I announce, remarking a significant milestone in history of CISA and the international community as a whole, we have appointed a Women’s Officer for the first time to establish a firm representation of female international students in Australia.

One of the key highlights of CISA’s prospective plans in the near future would be to advocate against workplace exploitation followed by a policy paper to address the outlook of the workplaces for international students in Australia with the representation of responsible authorities and compile strategic policies in terms of work exploitation, which will be disclosed to the international community and all stakeholders for future reference.
In addition to that, CISA expects to expand its network from top to bottom of the hierarchy of international community including the government authorities and non-government international student representative bodies. CISA intends to upgrade the existing relationships with other stakeholders and initiate platforms for interactive deployment of the international student associations at state and regional level. Most importantly, CISA anticipates structuring its ongoing diplomatic relationships with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and extending the ambassadorial connections to foreign embassies and consulates in Australia. Recognizing the overlap between undergraduate, postgraduate, domestic and international students, CISA also aims to ramify the network in collaboration with all the tertiary institutions in Australia.

On behalf of the CISA executive committee representing over 600 000 international students in Australia, I would like to extend my gracious invitation to you all join-in-hand for the betterment of all international students in Australia.

Thank you.
Best Regards,
Bijay Sapkota
National President
Council of International Students Australia (CISA)


CISA elects its first ever woman’s officer

Forough Ataollahi, PhD student in veterinary physiology at Charles Sturt University, was elected as the first ever National Women  Officer in CISA in September 2017. Her responsibilities include advocating for the interest and needs of women International students, advocating for high-quality education for women International students, promoting cross-cultural awareness and interaction in Australia and creating and conducting national student surveys to comprehend the needs of female International students. As part of her duties, Forough is hard at work to plan and conduct workshops and seminars for women International students to improve women awareness and status. The first conference will be held in Wagga Wagga for female international students from regional universities on December 2, 2017. All international students in regional universities are welcome to attend. Accommodation and catering for two days of the conference will be provided.

CISA wants you
Interested in contributing to the welfare of international students in Australia? Want to boost your skill set and gain varied experience while you study? Then you may just be who we are looking for. CISA is now accepting applications for volunteers for the Women’s Officer Portfolio for the following duties:
  • Research topics independently and compile data and present information both orally and in writing
  • Required to interact with Governmental or industrial representatives
  • Participate in developing and maintaining information sources and contacts for the portfolio and may attend meetings to collect information for related projects directed by the Women Officer
  • Perform fact-finding tasks, develop preliminary analysis, and shape findings and recommendations for the Equity Portfolio
  • Coordinate with Event and State Operational Team to deliver initiatives in an effective manner
  • Assist in overlooking the performance of the Portfolio and provide additional help to the team when necessary
  • Build strong networks between CISA and other organisations on a local, state and national level that have the capacity to deliver legal services and assist international students
CISA is also looking for a Graphic Designer volunteer for the Public Relations Portfolio, a Documentation Coordinator for the President who will be responsible for documenting communications of the President and reporting on relevant activities, and an External Stakeholders Coordinator for the President to liaise with various stakeholders.
Apply now: 


Say NO to Racism 
CISA condemns all acts of discrimination and as the unifying voice of international students, we extend our support to the local Chinese community in regards to what happened in Canberra several days ago and assure that steps will be taken to curb these acts of racist violence. Racism is never okay. But it still happens in Australia. Every day – but you can do something about it. 

Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum

CISA’s Queensland Representatives and National Officers elaborated on the role of the organisation in the life of International Students to Queensland’s International student leaders at the Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum held from October 26, 2017. Our representatives promoted the value of student advocacy, building and developing professional networks, and promoting cross-cultural awareness and interactions in Australia. 

Endorsement of training session to end Modern Day Slavery

CISA endorsed a training session regarding Ending Modern Day Slavery in October 2017. The training event provided information on taking action to help those being exploited and addressing the causes of exploitation. Latest information on the campaign for a Modern Slavery Act and planning real local action were highlights of the event. CISA supports the welfare of international students, in terms of fair treatment and fair pay, particularly for the students who do farm work alongside cleaning jobs during their long holidays. 

Initiatives to stop workplace exploitation of International Students
Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) launched initiatives to bring down workplace exploitation of international students in Australia in September 2017. CISA has long been committed and has been advocating for the same on many fronts at the national level. We hope to work with DIBP and FWO in bringing more such initiatives in the future. Read Jessica’s story to find out how FWO can help.

National student organisations band together for “YES Campaign”
CISA teamed up with three other biggest Australian national student organisations in August 2017 to support young people enrolled to vote “yes” to marriage equality. This was as part of the bigger national campaign #EnrolForEquality organised by the We Are Union. The organisations involved alongside CISA are Australian Queer Students Network, the National Union of Students (NUS) and Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA). All Australian universities were called upon to inform their students of the right to vote and the importance of enrolling to vote on such an important issue for Australians. CISA continues to support queer rights and marriage equality. 

Fair Work strikes deal to prevent automatic study visa cancellation
Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman announced a new campaign and internal strategy to combat workplace exploitation of international students, in October 2017. The campaign seeks to prevent students from being exploited within the workplace by educating them on their rights, provide opportunities for those currently within exploitative work situations to report their employer, and encourage more international students to take up the services of FWO. Read the full article here or listen to Ombudsman urging exploited international workers to come forward below.
Living in Sardine Slums: WATCH

CISA’s National Education Officer Arslan Kiyani, now member of the StudyNSW International Education Advisory Board, was one of the panelists to share his experience on the StudyNSW International Student Mental Health Well being at the International Education Provider Forum in October 2017, Customs House Sydney, to reflect more broadly on the international student population.
Expert Council meeting with six ministers including Simon Birmingham and Julia Bishop in October 2017.
National Postgraduate Officer Florian Sp, met Her Excellence Dr. Anna Prinz – Ambassador of Germany, and Prof. Michael Rosemann – Honorary Consul to the Federal Republic of Germany in Queensland in October 2017, to discuss issues outlining international students’ employability, study exchanges, and supporting young entrepreneurs.
CISA’s National Welfare Officer met with The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP (Minister for Trade & Investment, Minister for Innovation & Digital Economy, and Minister for Small Business) at the Victorian International Education Awards in October 2017 to discuss the contribution of international students to the education sector and how we need further support for them in the regional area of Victoria.
CISA executives Manfred Mletsin (National VET/ TAFE Officer) and Zaheer Qazi (National Welfare Officer) met with Australian Minister of Education Simon Birmingham and had the opportunity for a quick discussion on the new English language measures for ELICOS students, in October 2017.
CISA, NUS, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduates Association came together at the students as partners in education symposium at UTS on September 1, 2017.

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