Melbourne: Indian students in Australia were strongly influenced by the country's migration policy when it comes to enrolling in higher educational institutes, according to a latest study.

"Apart from traditional motivators such as higher rates of returns and employability associated with a foreign qualification, Indian students are very responsive to changes in Australia's labour market, immigration and student visa policies," said the study published in the Australian Journal of Education.

The study titled 'Indian higher education students in Australia: Their patterns and motivations' said demand from new Indian international students moderated post migration policy revision which started in 2008.

The study tracked Indian students first in accounting and IT courses, and next in cookery and hairdressing, as they chased changing incentives in the skilled migration system. The report said it appeared that recent skilled migration policy changes were closely related to Indian demand for Australian education as found by decreasing enrolment numbers, student visas granted and student stocks.

In a bid to counteract this decline trend, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) introduced few changes and reduced the financial requirements for student visa candidates. It also proposed changes to work restrictions to make them more flexible by introducing post-study work visas from this year onwards that would let international students work for up to four years in Australia after graduation.

These steps by DIAC, along with positive publicity to emphasize the standing of Australia as a safe destination and the opportunities for part-time work in Australia compared to its competitors in the post-GFC recession, may result in a rebound in student numbers from India, it said.

Analysis of international student data showed the behaviour of recent cohorts of Indian students has been influenced by changes and incentives provided by the general skilled migration programme in Australia.

There were 3,820 new Indian students in higher education in the year to May, 46.3 percent up on the same period last year, and above the 2010 figure.


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