India calls on Australia for Covid-secure return of students
Australian Universities are seeing a drastic fall in Indian students' enrolment because of its strict border policy due to Covid, it is feared. Lack of certainty and clarity around a specific timeline when international students can return to Australia could the country’s reputation as one of the most popular international student hubs in the world, it has been warned.
In an interview with ‘Guardian Australia’, India's High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, said extended travel restrictions could cause frustration and anxiety among thousands of Indian students awaiting their turn to travel to Australia to undertake courses. He said: "Online education was not what they signed up for".
Vohra told the newspaper that he has urged the Australian government to spell out a timeframe for a staged, Covid-safe return to on-campus studies, so students have something "to look forward to". It would be "a pity" if students ended up turning to other countries to continue their studies, he said.
About 158,000 student visa holders remained outside Australia as of the start of July. That figure included 17,008 students from India, second only to China (88,769) for the number of student visa holders.