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Australia: Over 1 lakh Indian students to benefit from post-study work visa

January 6, 2023

Ronita Torcato

Australia re-opened its borders to international students in 2022. In addition, the Australian government provided work visa extensions and other benefits to international students.

Over one lakh Indian students will now benefit from a post-study work visa for 18 months to four years under the India Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) which was launched in Mumbai with Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal  in attendance.

In a lighter vein, Goyal said the ECTA  was “negotiated with the speed of Bret Lee and the perfection of Sachin Tendulkar”. An important strategic partner of India, Australia is the second country to sign this agreement, the UAE is the first.

Australia and India are also part of the Trilateral Supply Chain Initiative, the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF) and the four nation Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), commonly known as the Quad, a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States. 

All visa holders who are fully vaccinated in compliance with Australian international students border entry requirements can travel to Australia. However, students are advised to check  quarantine requirements and post-arrival testing arrangements.

Australia hosted 5,706,226 international students between January 2021 and December 2021. As per Australia’s Department of Education data, China accounted for 30% of all international students in Australia, and India’s share was 17%.

The number of Indian students in Australia greatly increased from 10,073 in 2002 to 86,782 in 2022, according to Meridian, an  overseas education consultancy. In fact, the number leaped from 10th highest to 2nd highest.

Data from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), put the number of Indian students enrolled  in Australian universities at 52,186 until June 2022.

According to Austrade, the proportion of Indian students was 80:20 in 2014-15, where 20 per cent were pursuing under graduate  courses. In 2022, the ratio was 70:30, where 30 per cent of Indian students are pursuing UG courses.

Fees depend on the type of qualification and the university of choice. The average tuition fees at an Australian institute range between AUD 20,000 to AUD 30,000 per annum. Veterinary and medical degrees substantially cost more than degrees in finance or engineering.

It is pertinent to note that India has surpassed China as the most common nationality receiving sponsored study visas in the UK and is set to replicate the same in Australia.

The Centre for China and Globalisation, a Beijing based non-governmental think tank set up by overseas Chinese scholars and experts who have returned from studying in Western countries, attributes  the decline in the number of Chinese students in Australia to the worsening of China – Australia relations and  trade and geopolitical disputes between the two countries.

As far as Indian students are concerned, recognition of the Indian Class XII exams like CBSE and ISC for admissions, strong student protection laws and the opportunity to stay on and work post-completion of studies for two to four years,make Australia an attractive destination.

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