Australia is emerging as a popular destination for Indian students. During 2013-14, 34,100 visas were issued to Indian students, a rise of 38% as compared to the previous year. Even as the number of Chinese students outnumber those from India, the growth in student visas granted to Chinese nationals was much lower at 12% with 60,300 Chinese students being issued student visas during 2013-14.
According to ‘International Migration Outlook – 2015’ a study released by The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) visas granted by Australia to international students, in totality, has grown over the last three years, reaching 2.92 lakh in 2013-14 – which is a 13% rise over the previous year. One student in six at the university level in Australia is from abroad, cites this study.
A major attraction for Indian students is the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485 visa) which provides eligible graduates with the opportunity to gain a short amount of practical experience in Australia following their studies. This visa has two streams: a graduate work stream and a post graduate work stream. For the former, the students must have qualifications that relate to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL). A wide range of medical professionals and engineers, software developers, accountants, solicitors and also vocations such as electricians, carpenters and plumbers are covered by the SOL. The tenure of such a visa is up to eighteen months. The post study work stream is for those students who graduate with a higher degree. Its tenure can be up to four years.
According to a spokesperson from Australia’s Department of Immigration of Border Protection, “On June 30, 2015, there were 4,419 Indians holding subclass 485 visas representing 16.8 percent of all visas in this category.”
In addition to having obtained a qualifying degree in Australia, students applying for subclass 485 visa also need to meet the English language requirement. “Previously, only the International English Language Test System (IELTS) was recognised for this purpose. On April 18, 2015, there was a legislative change which in addition to IELTS also allows for the various other tests, viz: a test of English as a foreign language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT); a Pearson test of English Academic, a Cambridge English Advanced Test and an Occupational English Test,” explains Maria Jockel, Australian immigration law specialist and partner at Holding Redlich, a law firm.
“International students should also be aware that in the event that any false or misleading information or bogus documents are lodged to support an application, their visa may be subject to cancellation, such as under the Public Interest Criterion 4020,” cautions Jockel.