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An Australian-Indian Agreement to Boost Student Mobility

clock iconCreated At:29 May, 2023
write iconCreated By:Reem Mohamed

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A mobility deal between Australia and India was agreed upon by both parties. The deal states that universities in Australia will “support the flow of more students, researchers and skilled people” between the two countries.

On a visit to Sydney, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, met his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese and the Australia-India Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement was announced then.

The partners said that the deal will “promote the two-way mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers and business people, while also enhancing cooperation to prevent irregular migration and people smuggling”.

The government revealed that a specific Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme was created for India.

In Parramatta in Greater Western Sydney, a new Centre for Australia-India Relations, which will act as a national platform to bring government together with industry, academia and the community, will be headquartered.

In his first year as a leader, this meeting marked the sixth time Albanese has met Modi in his first year as leader of Australia. The government noted that the meeting built on the outcomes from the Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit in March.

“Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia has strengthened the close and strong relationship that Australia enjoys with India,” Albanese said.

“This is a relationship we need to invest in. Our strong partnership with India will deliver benefits for Australia in trade, investment and business, and in regional security and stability.

“Australia is a better place because of the contributions of the Indian-Australian community, and we want to see more connections between our countries.”

A new Australian Consulate-General in Bengaluru and India’s plans for a Consulate-General in Brisbane as well as the countries’ trade, investment and business relationship, and collaboration on green energy are included in the wide-ranging bilateral discussions.

According to local media reports, under this agreement, Indians under the age of 30 with key skills and proficient English skills will be eligible for two-year working visas without requirements first to have a job or further study confirmation. The cap for places for the schemes will initially be 3,000 per year, as per reports by The Australian.

The search for solutions for Australia’s crippling skill shortages has been long and ongoing.

Some 1,000 Work and Holiday Program places for young Indian travellers also opened up as a result of The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, which came into force on December 29 last year.

“Universities fully support the government’s focus on growing our relationship with India, which is flourishing,” Universities Australia chief executive, Catriona Jackson, said in a statement.

“We congratulate the prime minister for taking a front-foot approach to strengthening these ties, through which we all stand to benefit.”

Jackson called the arrangement, designed to increase the flow of students, researchers, and skilled people between the countries, “a good thing”, noting that universities “are key to maximising the economic potential of the relationship with India”.

Jackson made a note to highlight India’s ambition to educate 500 million students by 2035 as one where Australian universities can play a key role.

“The new arrangement will also facilitate greater collaboration between our researchers, whose work is essential to the success, safety and prosperity of both our nations,” she continued.

Indian students contributed $6.1 billion of the total $40bn that international education contributed to Australia’s economy in 2019, according to Universities Australia.

“We already have more Indian students studying in Australia than before the pandemic, but it is in our interest to build on this,” Jackson added.

Navitas CEO, Scott Jones, was one of a handful of stakeholders along with Jackson, who met the Indian PM during his visit to Australia.

Luke Sheehy, the Executive director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities, oted the “clear, ongoing commitment” by the respective governments to strengthen their connection.

“Growing our capability in people-to-people links is important for Australia and significant for the university sector because education is at the centre of this great relationship,” he said.

Australian transnational education providers welcomed a qualifications recognition agreement announced earlier this year as “great news’.

A qualifications recognition agreement announced earlier this year was welcomed as “great news” for Australian transnational education providers.

ATN universities have also been at the forefront of recent “pivotal partnerships” with India, such as the Deakin University campus in Gift City, the “first-of-its-kind” dual degree agreement between RMIT and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, as well as UniSA offering a bachelor of Digital Business in India co-developed and co-delivered with Accenture, Sheehy emphasised.

“Both prime ministers fundamentally understand the transformative power of education, how it plays a leading role diplomatically, as well as economically. Education is as vital to our bilateral strength as other key areas like renewable energy, defence and security,” Sheehy said.

“ATN universities have been closely aligned with India for decades and we will continue to lead this area of higher ed well into the future.”

On May 20 at the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, Modi and Albanese previously met, together with Japanese PM Kishida Fumio and US President Joe Biden.

An initiative announced at the 2021 summit in Washington, which includes the first cohort of 100 Quad STEM Fellows, begin their studies in the US in August 2023.


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