Big setback for temporary visa holders & international students, Australia may not ease flight restrictions till…

Australian Federal government has not changed its India travel advice despite COVID19 cases being subsided to one-tenth of its peak in May 2021.

Covid-19-related travel restrictions have been eased for Indian international students by many countries.

At this stage, these include the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Georgia, and the Netherlands.

Image source: Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan – Wikipedia.

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan informed the parliament that some more countries are expected to open up when the situation improves.

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Muraleedharan added that MEA has been working with many countries to help ease travel restrictions for Indians enrolled in their universities.

The minister was replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha on Indians studying abroad and the impact of the Covid-19-related restrictions on them.

He said:

“Our missions abroad have been actively taking up these issues with the respective governments and have been impressing upon those governments to ease the travel restrictions. Also the issue of travel restrictions has been taken up at the ministerial level with several countries.”

Australian Federal government has not changed its India travel advice despite COVID19 cases being subsided to one-tenth of its peak in May 2021.

This travel advice is current as of today 30th July 2021

However, there are some exemptions for people who are in one of the following categories.

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  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a foreign national with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia
  • a foreign national sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

Federal Government Ministers had multiple meetings with community leaders and organisations. Several people who have attended these meetings have told The Australia Today that travel restrictions are not going away until this year ends.

One of the Indian community leaders (Name withheld on request) present in meetings said, “Minister made it very clear he doesn’t see travel ban lifted till Christmas.”

On the other side next year the Indian government will launch a “Global Indian Students Portal (GISP)” for Indian students who want to go abroad for studies.

This portal will have information on courses, foreign universities, nodal officers and accreditation requirements.

Minister Muraleedharan added that the Sucha portal will help students and parents make informed decisions.

In addition, the India Centre for Migration, a think tank of the external affairs ministry, has prepared a “Student Handbook for Studying Abroad” to provide basic information to students intending to study overseas.

As per MEA’s data, a total of 1,133,749 Indians study in 99 countries around the world.

Among the countries with large numbers of Indian students are United Arab Emirates (219,000), Canada (215,720), the US (211,930), Australia (92,383), Saudi Arabia (80,800), the UK (55,465), Oman (43,600), New Zealand (30,000), China (23,000), Germany (20,810), Russia (16,500), the Philippines (15,000), and Kyrgyzstan and France (10,000 each).

For the 2021 intake, apart from the traditional destinations, countries such as Sweden and Israel have also seen a rise in the number of applications from Indian students. 

These countries are working with the relevant government ministries to make available the post-study visa option for Indian students.