Friday, June 11, 2010

Government to lobby for Indian students in Australia

The Indian government has stepped up efforts to protect the interests of students from the country who are likely to be affected due to the proposed changes in Australia's migration rules. The Labour party-led Australian government that has been trying to repair its tarnished image after the attacks on Indian students has proposed changes in permanent residency rules aimed at a demand-driven general skilled migration intake. Under the proposed rules, the skilled occupation list for getting permanent resident status in Australia has been pared from 450 to 150, with popular courses such as cooking missing.

The issue has assumed such significance that it is slated to come up in talks between the overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi and Australian representatives during his upcoming visit to that country. Ravi, who is leaving for Australia on Saturday for a five-day visit, said: “We have already held two rounds of discussions on this issue with the Australian officials. We have requested them to make the new rule prospective. We have been assured that many of the students will be accommodated.“

"This will largely remove the incentive for overseas students to apply for a particular course simply in the hope of being granted permanent residency", Australian foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith had said earlier.

The new migration rules announced by the Kevin Rudd government that come into effect from 1 July will impact students coming from countries such as China and India who contribute around $18 billion (Rs. 84,600 crore) to the Australian economy. Of around 600,000 overseas student enrolments in Australia in 2009, 20%, or 120,000, were from India.

"Around 75% of these students are in the vocational education and training sector. A very large number of them may have to pack their bags and go home. This would become a very serious issue", said Amit Dasgupta, the Indian Consul General in Sydney. The Indian government doesn't want the implementation of the changes with retrospective effect.

Source: Mint, June 11, 2010

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