Australian visa for higher education gets tougher for Indians
The Economic Times
3 Sep, 2008, 1852 hrs IST, IANS
SYDNEY : Indian students enrolling in higher education, post graduate research and English language courses in Australia will now have to adhere to more stringent visa regulations.
India is among nine other countries which have seen their immigration risk assessment levels upgraded from three to four on a scale of five beginning Sep 1, 2008. This is a result of visa non-compliance by students in recent years.
Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest.
“These changes will not be an impediment for genuine applicants coming here for study. It simply means applicants affected by these changes will need to submit a higher level of evidence of their English language ability, academic qualifications and their financial capacity to support themselves during their studies in Australia,” a spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship told media.
For example, Indian students seeking to enrol in the higher education sector will have to demonstrate that they can financially support themselves for 36 months instead of the earlier 24 months.
Students from Sri Lanka, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria, Romania and Zimbabwe will also have to give extra evidence to show they are genuine students.
During 2007-08, more than 278,000 students from 190 countries were granted visas representing more than 21 percent
growth in the student visa programme in one year.
Indian students are the second largest group of international students contributing to Australia's fast growing A$12.5 bn education export industry.
As of June 30, 2008, there were 63,500 Indian overseas students enrolled in Australian educational institutions, mostly in the vocational education sector. As many as 47,639 student visas were granted to Indian nationals during 2007-2008 and 5,772 went on to get permanent residence visas.
Strict conditions are imposed on student visa holders, and any breach of these conditions may lead to the cancellation of the visa. For example, students must satisfy attendance and course requirements, maintain valid enrolment for the chosen course of study and not work more than 20 hours per week.