2012 will be the year of Australia in India, says David Holly

During the current financial year, up to May 2011, Australia has issued one lakh visas to Indian businessmen and visitors, said Australian Consul-General for South India, David Holly on Thursday.

Addressing members of the Sindhi Chamber of Commerce, he said that they would end the current fiscal (July 2010 to June 2011) probably with 1.10 lakh to 1.20 lakh visas against 80,000 issued for the corresponding period last year.

“This marks a 15 per cent increase in business visas and 17 per cent in visitor visas. India is our second largest source of skilled migrants and the people of Indian origin are fast moving towards two per cent of our population. We are coming out with a new skilled migration programme from July 1, 2011 and have set the intake for skilled migrants at 1,25,850. But it is not country-specific,” he said.

Besides, India and Australia have agreed to set up the India-Australia Education Council to strengthen bilateral relationship in the sector. The focus would be on institutional tie-ups in the areas of excellence to deliver vocational education in India, he said.

According to Mr. Holly the bilateral trade between India and Australia grew rapidly from $8 billion in 2005 to $22 billion in 2010 and it was all set to reach $40 billion by 2015.

Mentioning that 2012 will be the year of Australia in India, he said, “We need to develop a contemporary image of India in Australia and a contemporary image of Australia in India for mutual benefit.”

Australia Trade Commission and Consul Commissioner, Michael Carter said that they provided helping hand to Indian businessmen either to set up their base within Australia or to source Australian products or services; enabled them to identify strategic business partner; provided information on the business environment and market intelligence among other things.

“We are ready to help small and medium enterprises too. We will be conducting awareness programmes in tier-II and tier-III cities,” he added.