The Department of Home Affairs recently released its data highlighting a significant decline in the number of Indian students applying for Australian student visas due to the countrys longstanding border restrictions amid COVID-19.
The latest numbers revealed that only 10,549 student visa applications were filed by the second half of 2020. This marked a 48.4% decline in new student visa applications as compared to the applications lodged during the same period in 2019.
Close to 13,000 students from India left Australia and hundreds are waiting to return to campus.
Director of Global Reach Ravi Lochan Singh said that the drop in the numbers was expected as Australia still does not have a national policy or timeline for the return of overseas students.
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The numbers are likely to decline further if international borders of the country are not reopened. The impact of this decline would have a long-term impact on the Australian education sector. It will probably be only in 2023 that the numbers would begin to come back to the pre-pandemic level, he added.
Gauravdeep Bumra, an education consultant from India, believes that Indian students are less willing to study remotely from their home countries unlike Chinese students.
He explained that most Indian students want to study abroad and choose to spend a lot of money with the hope to become permanent residents of the foreign country. This is also the reason why many Indian students have chosen to defer their studies instead of studying online.
Bumra added that the lack of uninformed national strategy has led new international students studying in Australia to look at other study destinations. A lot of money is also at stake because the federal government of the country has been unwilling to design a plan for the return of Indian students.
The day Australia announces the return of international students, they will witness an increase in student intake numbers. However, it will take years for the country to see its usual numbers, he continued.
Australias Education Minister Alan Tudge said that currently the top priority for the country is to bring stranded Australians back to the country.
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