Australia woos students with a slew of offers

Monica Kennedy

Monica Kennedy

Australia is beckoning Indian students, who presently form the second largest group among international students, with a slew of offers including visa fee waiver and removal of maximum eligible work hours, apart from increasing the post-study work visa to three years.

After shutting down its borders to contain COVID spread for almost two years, the Australian government wants international students to return and it expects the numbers from India to rise. Those arriving in Australia before March 19 this year will get their visa fee of 630 Australian Dollars waived off, said Monica Kennedy, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner of Austrade in Mumbai.

Speaking to The Hindu , she said visa fee would be refunded for all international students arriving on Australian shores before March 19, while those coming to pursue Masters programmes in the Metropolitan areas, the post-study work visa is being enhanced from the present two years to three years. In non-metropolitan cities, it ranges from three to four years. She said already there is a surge in international students reaching Australia and the number is likely to go further higher with the new measures announced by the Australian Prime Minister Scot Morrison. As of now, about 1.50 lakh international students posses an Australian visa.

Figures available with Department of Education, Skills and Employment International Student Data reveal that 1,08,292 students secured visas in 2019 and 1,48,684 in the year 2020 when the pandemic struck. Till October 2021, the figures say, 1,25,442 students got their visas. The number of Indian students is believed to be high as the country has been the second-largest among International students for several years.

“As the year has just started, it would be too early to provide projections for 2022,” Ms. Monica said while exuding confidence that the new relaxations and offers will attract a lot of students.

“An attractive option for Indian students is removing the cap of 20 hours of work per week for international students for the time being,” says Nishidhar Borra of Atlas Consultants. “The policy will be reviewed in April this year,” he said.

Despite closing its borders in 2020 and a major part of 2021, the Australian universities ensured that the academics were not disrupted with the online classes held regularly. It also created a Digital Education Hub, a one-stop shop for international students giving information on skills to be equipped as they waited to enter Australia and also connecting them with institutions to upgrade their skills while waiting to enter Australia.

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Printable version | May 15, 2022 3:50:30 am |