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Indians exempt from Aus student visa changes

Indian students will be exempt from most of the changes to post-study work rights in Australia thanks to a prior agreement between the two countries.

Under Australia’s new migration strategy, the number of years some international students can stay in the country on a temporary graduate visa has reduced.

Those who completed a Master’s by coursework will be eligible for two years instead of three and PhD students will be eligible for three instead of four.

However, the original post-study work policies were enshrined in the terms of a free trade agreement between India and Australia, formalised at the end of 2022.

The new migration strategy will not override this agreement, meaning Indian students will still be eligible for longer post-study work visas.

“This is excellent news for Indian students,” said Nishi Borra, president of the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India. “High-quality students seeking to study in Australia will be welcomed.”

In 2022/23, Indians were granted over 100,000 Australian study visas – more than any other nationality.

The eligibility for a second temporary graduate visa will remain unchanged, but the further extension of two years will be eliminated. This applies to all international students, including Indians.

Some in the sector, including AAERI members, have called for “grandfathering” of the new policies to ensure they do not apply to current international students, who may have chosen to study in Australia in part due to the country’s generous post-study work policies.

The Australian government is increasingly focusing on education links with India, agreeing a mechanism for the mutual recognition of qualifications in March and launching an education strategy for the two countries in November.

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