Melbourne: Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen has left for a visit to India and Sri Lanka to enhance cooperation on border management activities and promote recent changes to Australia's skilled migration programme.

"I look forward to deepening Australia's relationship with both India and Sri Lanka through beneficial discussions on a range of issues of importance to our countries," Bowen said in an official statement on Monday.

During his stay in New Delhi from 30 April to 2 May, Bowen will discuss migration arrangements and reaffirm the importance Australia places on its longstanding bilateral relationship with India.

"India is now one of Australia's largest and growing sources of general skilled migrants and students," Bowen said, adding "this visit is particularly timely, given the implementation of the Knight Review of student visas and India's place as the second largest source of international students in Australia."

The minister will then visit Sri Lanka from 2 May to 4 May in order to conduct talks on irregular migration and migration reforms.

"Australia will continue working closely with Sri Lanka on issues relating to people smuggling, including preventing and disrupting people smuggling ventures by air and sea," Bowen said.

"We appreciate Sri Lanka's ongoing cooperation in the area of people smuggling, in particular its new people smuggling legislation which will work to promote regular migration avenues for Sri Lankan nationals."

The visit will also provide an opportunity for the minister to outline changes to the general skilled migration programme and the completion of the Knight Review with his Indian and Sri Lankan counterparts.

Bowen's visit to Lanka comes closely on the heels of the last month's abduction of a radical Sri Lankan political party leader who was holding an Australian passport.

Premakumar Gunaratnam, the leader of the Frontline Socialist Party, disappeared as he was abducted by an unknown group. He re-appeared three days later when the Australian government intervened.

Sri Lanka has long standing issues with illegal migration to Australia. There have been several migration scams when Sri Lankans mostly from the Tamil minority were detected in trying to reach Australia by fishing trawlers.