Australian immigration authorities are stating that more than 74,000 students applied for an Australian student visa in the three months prior to September 2014. According to them, this is the highest figure in the last four years and this could well mean or imply that the country has regained its position as a favoured destination of international students. In the early 2000s, and even later, up until the last decade, Australia had become a favoured destination because of reasons such as quality education, high standards of living, and even its ‘sunny weather’, etc.
In effect, all of these aforesaid reasons made Australia so popular that while in 2002, there were 274,000 international students, in 2009, there were half a million of them there. A majority of Australians welcomed this phenomenon, but there were dissenting voices which said that many of the student entrants that had arrived, had arrived with forged documents, and a significant number of them had intentions to migrate to Australia rather than to just study there.
As a corollary of this, and some other reasons, including a governmental and official report, the Knight Report, which stated and surmised that were some less reputable institutions that had come up, which had no real intent of providing or offering good courses, but were only interested to collect fees from students which enabled students to immigrate there was a growing backlash against more international students on the campuses. As a result, the government at the time, the Labor government of Julia Gillard, introduced more stringent conditions and requirements on students visas and also hiked the amount of money that the student applicant needed to show as ‘proof of funds’ and needed to spend on tuition, other expenses, etc., when in Australia. In addition to this, at that time, the world was facing a global financial crisis, and the Australian dollar was ‘strong’ which made it difficult for international students to study in Australia. And also, in particular, there were attacks on Indian students on the campus and all of this led to a fall in applications.
To tide over this situation the present Australian government aware of the fact that education is the country’s second biggest export, has sought to usher in some measures and these include the concept of ‘trusted institutions’ (select authorized institutions where there is a streamlined processing in place) where a student applicant faces less number of ‘checks’. Also, in the pipeline is the suggestion/proposal that an applicant from some select countries can have ‘$A40 000 less in the bank'. These and similar measures it is hoped by Australian authorities will again restore Australia as a choice destination for students from all over the world.