Hindustan Times (Delhi)
Studying in Australia: All that’s new
India has been upgraded in the student visa evaluation framework, increasing access and convenience for Indian students looking to pursue higher education in Australia
The Australian government has made a significant move in trying to make their country a more attractive destination for Indian students looking for higher education abroad. The shift from ‘High Risk Assessment’ to ‘Moderate Risk’ category for Indian students will increase the number of institutions that students can apply to in Australia, and substantially reduce the documentary requirements for obtaining a student visa. When Nepal was shifted from the high risk to the moderate risk category, it led to a significant increase in the number of student visas granted; Indian students are also likely to use this opportunity to benefit from Australia’s much vaunted higher education system.
CHANGE IN FRAMEWORK
Australia ranks all countries into 4 categories for the purposes of issuing student visas, based on the presumption of risk. Each category comes with its own documentary requirements, and the higher risk categories have more onerous restrictions. For instance, the High Risk Assessment category – where India was previously placed, Indian students had fewer options to choose from Australian universities and colleges. Documentary evidence required have been reduced as per the checklist available on the embassy website but still if the visa officer requires he may ask under Genuine Temporary Entrant criteria. Furthermore, the metric by which visas were granted also accounted for the category and risk. Australian universities are also ranked according to their quality; the embassy would basically add the category number of the country of the applicant with the category rank of the university, and the lower scored visa applications are like to get positive visa response. With the change and upgrade in category, Indian students would get access to a much wider variety of Australian universities and colleges.
COME AND STUDY, MATE!
This move by the Australian government is part of its ambitious target to enroll 720,000 international students by 2025. Australia is already the third-largest international educational destination in the world after the UK and USA. However, it lags behind Canada when it comes to attracting Indian students – a disparity that this move looks to correct. Australia is looking to aggressively push its institutions of technical and higher learning.
By opening these institutes up to Indian students, Australia is making it easier for Indian students to pick up a quality educa- tion from a wider variety of institutions and at greater convenience than before. Furthermore, the cost of higher education in Australia is substantially less than that of the UK and the USA. With Brexit and Trump causing concern amongst Indians about where to go to get a world-class degree, Australian’s shores seem to be the perfect answer.