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Post attacks, students shun Australia

Visa requests from Indian students registered a sharp decline after the incidents of attacks there, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said here today.

Terming the attacks as 'unfortunate', he said the number of requests is again marking an upward trend in the recent past.

'Now analysis shows that Indian students are less likely to be attacked there,' Bowen told a FICCI meeting here.

Besides the incidents of attacks, there were also other reasons like the high cost of Australian dollar which resulted in decline in request for student visas from India, he said.

Bowen said a number of steps have been taken by Australia to encourage students from across the world, including India, to study there.

Under its immigration policy, Australia will allow skilled workers to work there, he said, adding that his country would prefer to have employee-sponsored work force but would allow independent people also to settle there.

The Australian Minister said changes have been made recently in the student visa programme after a review.

He said as per the data of 2011-12, India was the largest source of permanent migrants to Australia, ahead of both the UK and China.

In 2010, there were a number of attacks on Indians in parts of Australia. The Indian government had raised strong protest against these incidents.
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