Australia has introduced easier norms for international students, said to be this country’s third biggest export industry after coal and iron ore but under pressure after the attacks on Indian students and emergence of competitors.

Under the new arrangements announced on Thursday, international students enrolled in at or higher bachelor degree courses will be treated as lower risk applicants leading to less onerous financial and documentary requirements.

Students undertaking vocational courses would continue to be assessed against higher assessment levels but with lower financial requirements.

The changes will also allow for a two to four year post-study work visa for university graduates depending on the level of study completed.

These changes will be progressively implemented from late 2011 with the full complement of changes expected to be finalised in the first half of 2012.

Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese said the changes would enhance Australia’s competitiveness in the international education sector and also result in easier and faster visas for Indian students in a range of Australian university courses.

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