Student visa policy not being changed: Australia

New Delhi, June 30 (Calcutta Tube) Australia Wednesday said it is not changing its student visa policy and there are no plans to cap the number of foreign students studying in the country.

The Australian High Commission issued a statement after media reports stated that around 15,000 Indian students could be forced to return after the new visa policy comes into force July 1.

‘First, we are making changes to Australia’s skilled migration programme not our student visa programme,’ said the statement.

It added that these changes were not India-specific.

‘They are not targeted at India or any other country. They were not triggered by the problems of the last year over attacks on Indian students,’ said the High Commission.

‘No student, whether from India or elsewhere, currently studying in Australia is going to be asked to cease their course because of changes to our skilled migration programme. They will be allowed to complete their studies. Many have visas that enable them to study courses for several years,’ said the statement.

At the same time, it was pointed out that a student visa holder is in Australia for only a temporary specified period to study and is not guaranteed migration.

The commission also clarified that there were no plans to restrict the number of student visas.

‘These concerns relate to a bill that is currently before the Australian parliament. The amendments proposed in this bill have been designed to manage the skilled migration programme and ensure it meets the labour market needs of the Australian economy as flexibly as possible. There are no plans to apply this to the student visa programme,’ said the press release.

After their studies, international students can apply for a temporary skilled graduate visa which will give them 18 months with full work rights, it added.

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