Indians have been subject to highly unpleasant treatment in Australia. This, coupled with the fact that the UK has made drastic changes in its visa policy, has resulted in Indian students heading towards countries like New Zealand and Denmark.
With the ongoing racist attacks on Indians in Australia and the UK High Commission deciding not to acknowledge the student visa applications for a few months, mavens of the education industry feel it is time to administer caution while dealing with student visas.
The decision of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has jeopardized the plans of hundreds of students from the region who had paid the fee in different institutions in the UK for the next session. The British deputy high commissioner has said that this suspension was necessary to scrutinize the situation and to save genuine applicants, as there were some cases where people were abusing the student visa norms.
90 percent of students from the Northern region of India mainly go overseas to attain a permanent residency status. Cases of fraudulent study visas may harm the interests of genuine visa seekers as has happened now with the UK High Commission closing three centers in Chandigarh, Jalandhar and New Delhi in the northern region.
It is a fact that Indian students contribute substantially to the GDP of countries like Australia and the UK. Still one cannot be over confident that things would continue to be as smooth as they had been in the past because when it comes to national interests these countries are ready to put everything, including bilateral trade, on stake.
This indefinite suspension, put in force last week, was the direct result of a 10-fold increase in student visa applications during the period October to December 2009, at the three visa application centers in the region. Last year, 13,500 applications were received during this period whereas only 1,800 and 1,200 were received in 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Interestingly, after the racist incidents in Australia, countries like New Zealand have stepped up their campaign promoting the Kiwiland as the next overseas education destination. Student queries, too, seem to have grown for countries like Denmark. New Zealand is being seen as a safe destination for students due to low rate of violence, decrease in military spending and the election of a conservative coalition government last year.
Companies dealing in study visas maintain the number of student going overseas can almost double by 2015. As per the ministry of overseas affairs, out of the 2,64,324 students going abroad from India, almost 1,04,522 go to the US followed by over 97,035 to Australia, 25,905 to the UK and over 6,040 to New Zealand.