Number of Indian Students in Australia Rises to 7-Year-High

More than 68,000 students were studying in Australia in November 2017, according to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.


The number of Indian students going to Australia has increased to a seven-year-high, according to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.

In November 2017, more than 68,000 Indian students were studying in Australia, an 14.65 per cent increase from the corresponding figure of 60,013 last year. In 2016, there was a 12 per cent increase from 2015, according to data from the high commission quoted by the Economic Times.

There was an increase in the number of Indian students applying to New South Wales, Deakin, Bond, James Cook, Canberra and Queensland universities in 2017. Earlier, students were mainly applying to New South Wales and Victoria but more and more Indian students are now applying to Queensland and Melbourne as well, the high commission said.

Australia has been welcoming international students, implementing a strategy to attract more students in 2016. By October 2017, the country reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of international higher education students.

“The approach that the Australian government has to education is similar to what Switzerland has to tourism,” said Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education and skill development, KPMG in India, according to the publication. “US has visa restrictions; it is not even sure whether they want more people. Australia, on the other hand, is sending out a clear message: We want more people who are hungry, who can contribute to the economy. It will be a big pull factor as far as Australia is concerned.”

The number of PhD students going to Australia from India increased by 30.6 per cent from 2012-16, the Group of Eight (Go8) universities said in January 2018.

One of the top universities in Australia, Deakin University has recorded an increase in applications from Indian students by 50 per cent while the University of New South Wales, a member of the Go8, has seen a double-digit growth in the last few years.

The number of Indian students increased by 20 per cent in 2017 in Bond University. James Cook University also witnessed a 10-12 per cent increase in Indian students. “We’ve seen lots of interest in our top undergraduate programs. India is the second-largest source for international students after China,” James Cook University spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report.

“In general, more Indian students have been considering Australia as a viable and preferred study destination,” said Lisa Cowan, Bond University’s director.

The number of Indian students applying to Canberra university almost doubled in 2017, according to ET.

Caitlin Byrne, the director of the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, said, “Incoming Indian students continue to engage in areas of traditional demand, such as engineering and IT. However, there is also growing interest in programs that reflect India’s changing context and increasing emphasis on social development, including health and architecture.”

The Go8 universities are also urging the Australian government for easier visa norms for Indian students who want to pursue a PhD. Australia is only second to the United States in attracting Indian students interested in research and PhD. It also helps that international PhD students can currently apply for a post-study work visa of up to four years in Australia, unlike in the United Kingdom and the United States.

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