Australia: International student numbers rising

Over 183,000 international students were granted Australian visas in the nine months to March 31.

Melbourne: The number of foreign students, especially from India, is rising again in Australia after a sharp decline in 2010 following attacks on Indians.

According to the Immigration Department, over 183,000 international students were granted visas in the nine months to March 31 -- up 4.5 percent compared with the same period in 2010-11.

In 2011-12 until March 31, of all student visas granted, 19.5 percent were to Chinese nationals while 14 percent were Indian nationals. Indian numbers jumped 43 percent, compared with the previous year, to reach 27,500.

Offshore grant rates for Indian nationals rose considerably to 61.5 percent during January-March this year compared to the previous three quarters which were 39.6, 45.0 and 53.8 percent respectively.

According to a report, Monash University migration expert Bob Birrell said many of these students would have originally come here to study cookery and hairdressing, but were caught out when the Federal government cracked down on courses that were seen as providing easy access to permanent residency.

"They have been swooshing around the system, applying for student and tourist visas, family reunion and as temporary skilled migrants," Birrell said.

"The student system was opened up to allow so many in, and now they are seeking whatever means are available to stay on via other visas."

There was a sharp decline in requests for student visas from India after attacks on Indian students in 2010. The Indian government had raised strong protest against these incidents.

Tighter visa regulations, the strong Australian dollar, fears of attacks were some of the reasons students ditched Australia.

PTI

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