The number of Australian visa applications from Indian students has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to recent figures, prompting some to claim that Australia is regaining its appeal as a great country to study in.
The Australian High Commission in India reported that the number of Indian students applying for an Australian visa had increased by more than 100% in the last six months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
“During the six month period from 1, July, 2011 to 31, December, 2011, a total of 5,342 student visa applications were lodged offshore by Indian nationals,” said Shekhar Namian, a spokesperson for New Delhi’s Australian High Commission.
“In comparison, a total of 2,605 student visa applications were lodged during the same period in 2010. This represents a year over year 105.1% increase in the six month period in 2011.”
The number of Indian students studying in Australia had been in sharp decline since 2009 after more than 20 allegedly racially motivated attacks on Indian students during 2009. The intense media scrutiny and perceived lack of intervention from Australian authorities led to protests in India as well as Sydney and Melbourne.
However, after new measures were implemented in both Australia and India, the attacks have since ceased and Australia’s reputation as an international study destination is beginning to recover.
“The Australia authorities have taken strict measures to control attacks on Indians in Australia,” said Gulshan Kumar, former president of Association of Australian Educational Representatives in India (AAERI).
“They have tightened security and nominated an ombudsman for Indian students in their country to whom the students can directly report in case of complaint.”
The addition of employment allowances introduced by Australian immigration authorities combined with the UK, traditionally the most popular destination for Indian students, restricting the number of visas and removing the ability to remain in the country after graduating are also thought to have had an effect on the number of Indians now considering Australia.
“The recently introduced lax work permit norms for students studying in Australia is a major puller for aspirant Indians” said Mr Kumar.
“Since the UK introduced tough norms and withdrew the post-study work facility, Down Under is the destination of choice for a large number of students from Gujarat,” said Rughuvirsingh Khushwah, a fellow member of the AAERI.
Thanks to the good folks over at the Visa Bureau who helped contribute towards this article