More than one lakh Indians have received visas to go to Australia in 2013-2014. This is the highest number of visas issued to Indians by Australia in a single financial year so far.
Last week, Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling felicitated the 100,000th visa recipient Manoj Saraogi along with his wife and two children, here. The Saraogis are leaving for a holiday to The Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney this week. Mr. Suckling gifted them a couple of passes to allow them to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which offers a breathtaking view of the iconic harbour.
Mr. Suckling said, "The number of Indian visitors to Australia in the first three months of 2014 jumped by 10 per cent, fuelled by increasing numbers of tourists, and people visiting friends and family within the growing Indian diaspora in Australia."
India is Australia's eleventh largest trading partner and fifth largest export market. India is also the second largest source of overseas students in Australia, next only to China. As of March 31 there were 3,66,914 student visa holders in Australia, 24.5 per cent of whom are Chinese and 10 per cent are Indian.
Of the total student visas granted in the 2013-14, 21 per cent were Chinese nationals followed by 11.1 per cent Indian nationals. Last year, offshore visa grants for Indian students went up by a whopping 121.3 per cent and 175.3 per cent for Nepalese students.
Student enrolments from India fell in 2009, a period when there were number of attacks on Indian nationals in the country. However enrolment began to increase after 2012. Over 54,000 Indian students have enrolled in Australian institutions since 2012. Punjabi is the fastest growing language in Australia and about 4.5 lakh Australians are of Indian origin.
Last year 1.73 lakh Indian tourists visited Australia, a little less than the number of Australians who visit India. The turnaround time for tourist visas is two to three days. Industry forecasts project that this number may double by 2020.