Melbourne: Hit by international student attack crisis, Australia has experienced a huge decline by 46% of Indians applying for student visas in the country last year, country’s Immigration Department has said.
The total number of student visa applications around the world also dropped by over 20%.
Department’s spokesman Sandy Logan said racism and violence issue against foreign students were not mainly to be blamed for the slide in visa applications.
It was also due to stricter and tougher scrutiny of applications and the immigration department has been rejecting a higher number of applications from India, he said.
“It is correct to say that there has been a decline in the number of student visa applications coming from India,” he said.
There’s also been a decline though in the number of student visa applications that have been withdrawn by those applicants. In August last year the government announced strengthened checking for high-risk segments of the student visa programme.
“It was a targeted series of checks as a result of analysis which suggested the risk was most significant in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
Once integrity checking is taken into account a student visa application has been refused,” he said.
Logan further said, “We are aware that there has been an effect across the board as a result of the global financial crisis,” he said.
“But we were also expecting that with greater and more stringent integrity checks, the student visa application cohort from a number of these countries will drop.”
Meanwhile, founder and director of International Education Consultants Australia, Kathryn Richardson, said adverse publicity of violent incidents involving foreign students in Australia cannot be ruled out as a factor.
“Of course you would expect there would be some sort of response to that. I don’t fear, at this stage, that it is something that will be in the long run a dramatic and constant change.”
“But if the numbers fall off this year due partly to publicity or bad publicity, it probably wouldn’t be surprising,” Logan said.