INTERNATIONAL students are making a mockery of immigration laws by flouting visa conditions which limit them to 20-hour working weeks, with those driving taxis in Victoria clocking up to twice as many hours behind the wheel as they're allowed.
Despite a warning from Immigration Minister Chris Evans that taxi owners who employed students in breach of their visa restrictions risked up to two years' jail, cab advocacy bodies and student drivers revealed the industry was largely ignoring the law.
Student bodies have urged the Rudd Government to lift the 20-hour cap, saying overseas pupils should be entitled to juggle their academic commitments with as many hours of work as they can manage.
The Australian understands the Howard government planned to target Victorian taxi businesses as a first step in a national crackdown on students who were rorting the employment restrictions of their visas.
Victorian Taxi Drivers Association secretary Thomas Henderson, whose organisation represents the interests of both driver and owner members, admitted some holders of student visas were clocking up to 40 hours a week on the road.