The influx of Indian Students into Australia has been on the rise from under 500 in the early 1990s to nearly 30,000 in 2006-07. In fact Indian students had overtaken their Chinese counterparts and were the third largest group of international students in Australia in 2006-07. Popular study options among international and particularly Indian Students include postgraduate studies (Masters by course work) in Business Administration, Management, Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering, Surveying, Undergraduate programmes are popular as well. University studies in Science courses such as Biotechnology are becoming more popular.

It was a good deal on both sides. The competitive cost of the Australian education experience and the prospect of a permanent job and Permanent Residency (PR). Both reasons that make 60 per cent of Indian graduates stay on Down Under. As for Australia, education is a 12.5 billion dollar export industry. However, this rosy picture is likely to change with the country's immigration authorities deciding to tighten laws for for the recruitment of Indian Students who may have to push harder to get visas as authorities there have moved India up on the 'immigration risk' scale to check their numbers.

According to the latest official data, there were 65,000 Indian students in Australia till June this year, mostly in vocational education. In fact according to the Australian High Commission, enrolments in diploma programmes in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Segment remain high. There was a 148 per cent growth the enrolment for vocational courses and 67 per cent for non-award programmes in 2006.

India is not alone in moving up the risk scale. Visa applicants from Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Romania and Zimbabawe will also have to do extra work to show that they are bona-fide students. "The status of these nine countries had been changed 'to combat increased levels of immigration risk'," said a spokesperson of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. " All universities were likely to have asked students to lodge their visa applications and get the process started before the September 1 change in immigration risk levels, which affects a host of overseas markets," said Jennie Lang, pro-Vice Chancellor (International) of New South Wales University. "We will also be encouraging (the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) staff in off-shore posts to ensure that university sector applicants are given priority," Lang was quoted saying in The Australian newspaper.

In fact all universities are likely to urge their foreign students, including Indian Students to get their visa applications lodged and processed as per the new rules. The spokesman, however, said: "Genuine or not, the fact of the matter is that students from these nine countries will have to give extra evidence of their capacity to support themselves financially, especially with savings histories.

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