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Why Australia is still a favourite destination for Indian students

​​According to figures from the Australian High Commission in Delhi, 68,285 Indian students went to study in universities across the country in 2017, a 14% growth over 2016.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: May 06, 2018, 05.54 AM IST
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Watch: Rules, returns driving Indian students to Canada, EU countries
Watch: Rules, returns driving Indian students to Canada, EU countries
GOLD COAST: The racist attacks against Indian students in Australia in 2009-2010 are a thing of the past and the number of Indian students choosing to go to Down Under has been steadily increasing over the past few years.

According to figures from the Australian High Commission in Delhi, 68,285 Indian students went to study in universities across the country in 2017, a 14% growth over 2016. By February 2018, 60,062 Indian students have already gone to Australia, a 16.8% growth compared with the corresponding period in 2017.

Ravi Lochan Singh, MD of educational consultancy firm Global Reach, says post-study work opportunities and a fast-track route to permanent residence for those with qualifications in skill-shortage areas make Australia one of the top destinations for Indian students.

“However, the rules and the skills list keep changing. One has to have skills that are on the shortage list to apply for a permanent residency,” Singh explains. Harsimran Singh from Delhi, who is doing a master’s degree at Bond University in Gold Coast, says his dual degree in construction and project management will open up several job opportunities after he finishes his course next semester. His options would include quality surveyor, building surveyor, construction manager and project manager.

“Besides, the course also helps to network with future employers and meet people from the industry,” says Singh, who is hopeful that he will find a job and get on the fast track to permanent residency.

However, frequent changes in the skills lists are creating problems for Indian students who are looking at a fast-tracked residency. “This is flattening the line graph of students going to Australia to a great extent,” says Gurinder Bhatti, chairman and MD, ESS Global, an overseas study consultancy.

Quality of life, though, has kept students hooked to Australia. “I love the lifestyle here. I would like to live and work here to ensure that I get returns on the money I’ve spent on my education,” says Prabhjot Kaur from Karnal in Haryana, who went to Australia for a three-year undergraduate course in commerce and finance at Griffith University in Gold Coast. Universities in Gold Coast have been reaching out to Indian students.

“We have a strong employability programme for Indian students graduating our universities and helping them with their career path after studies,” says Shannon Willoughby, CEO, Study Gold Coast, an educational body formed by the region’s universities. Australian universities are also looking at rolling out niche courses that are aligned with industry needs to attract more Indian students.

“Rather than plain vanilla courses, students are seeking out distinctive areas of study such as international tourism, internet of things and big data to align themselves with employment needs,” says Monty Singh, VP-international at Southern Cross, a public university. New Zealand is also attracting Indian students, offering faster residency for those who complete niche courses. “Our education helps international students become work-ready and acquire skills that are required globally,” says Joanna Kempkers, New Zealand High Commissioner to India.

The writer was in Australia at the invitation of Study Gold Coast

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