‘No student will be sent home this month as is being perceived by many Indian students'

Dispelling apprehension Indian students that they would be sent back from Australia after their studies in view of the changes in the Skilled Migration programme, Australian officials clarified that the changes are not retrospective.

“Australia has altered its skilled migration policy, but not its student visa policy and no student will be sent home this month as is being perceived by many Indian students and their parents here,” an official of the Australian High Commission in India clarified.

On the contrary all students will be allowed to complete their courses after which they can apply for an additional 18 months stay during which they can work and seek employer sponsorship to remain in Australia.

“Moreover, the changes apply to all applications from all countries and not targeted at India, nor are they triggered by the problems of the last year over attacks on Indian students,” officials stated.

Officials remind that the skilled migration visa is completely separate to the student visa. No student, whether from India or elsewhere, currently studying in Australia is going to be asked to cease their course because of changes to the skilled migration programme.

Many have visas that enable them to study courses for several years and they will be allowed to complete their studies.

“At the same time it is important to remember that student visas allow people to visit Australia on a temporary basis for a specified period to undertake study at an Australian educational institution. There is no guarantee of migration just because someone holds a student visa,” officials remind.

Embassy officials said the Australian government has provided generous transition arrangements to ensure those international students who were in Australia when the changes were announced on February 8, 2010.

“If their objectives are to complete their studies or shift to another course of study, they will be free to do so subject to meeting the entry requirements. If they want to work after the completion of their studies, they can apply for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa under the old arrangements, which will give them 18 months with full work rights. They can use this time to find an employer-sponsor, find a State-government sponsor, gain a new skill or get work experience,” they said.

These transition arrangements apply until the end of 2012 and extend to all people who held student visas at the date of the announcement of changes (8 February 2010).

Those who are able to demonstrate that they can meet Australia's skills needs as articulated in the requirements for a permanent skilled visa will still have the opportunity to achieve permanent residence.