After Australia ban on Indian students, envoy to India urges caution over consultants

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The Australian envoy to India warned students to be wary of education and migration consultants who, in growing numbers, have been found to falsify documents for entry into the Commonwealth.

The note of caution came after some universities in Australia barred applicants from six Indian states in May over a growing trend of falsified visa documents.


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“What we see is a failure by migration agents who are letting down students by not completing their forms accurately. We have seen an uptick of false information and fraudulent applications and as a result a very small number of [Australian] universities have turned the tap off on migration agents responsible,” The Hindu reported on Tuesday, citing an address to journalists by diplomat Barry O’Farrell.

O’Farrell reportedly urged students intending to visit Australia for education to monitor the agency’s paperwork and file copies for assurance.

The Federation University in Victoria and Western Sydney University in New South Wales both announced a ban on the intake of students from Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement to agents dated May 19, The Federation University said: “The University has observed a significant increase in the proportion of visa applications being refused from some Indian regions by the Department of Home Affairs. We hoped this would prove to be a short-term issue, however it has persisted, and it is now clear there is a trend emerging.”

“It is our assessment that refusal rates from certain regions in North India are unlikely to reduce in the foreseeable future.”

“We have made the difficult decision to stop processing applications for these regions knowing that there is a greater chance that the applicant may receive a visa refusal which can significantly impact the future study intentions.”

Western Sydney University reportedly said that students from Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat presented the highest attrition risk and would no longer allow applications from these states.

Unconfirmed reports also added that Victoria University, Edith Cowan University, University of Wollongong, Torrens University, and Southern Cross University are in the process of or have already placed restrictions and checks for Indian students from these states.

The bans come even as Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met Narendra Modi, his Indian counterpart, in Sydney in May to discuss regional security and economic ties and signed a migration deal to boost Indian student travel to Australia.

Albanese also earlier said in a television interview that “hundreds of thousands of Indian students have been able to access education here in Australia,” which he claimed was good for Australia’s economy.

In March, the two countries agreed on a mechanism to allow Indian students who studied in Australia to have their degrees recognized in India, and vice versa.

Despite growing difficulties in migration, more Indian students are choosing to move abroad in search of better living standards and quality of life.

Middle-class Indians have for decades sought better prospects in other countries. Still, worsening economic conditions are now driving families from poorer rural areas to make significant investments to set up new lives overseas.

The move comes despite the initial elevated costs of studying and living in countries like Canada and Australia.

In a similar incident, Canada in March was set to deport 700 students after authorities identified fake college admission letters that were used to study and stay in the North-American country.

Some Canadian government officials have written letters supporting the affected students, asking that the penalty be dropped. The Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said authorities were investigating recent reports of fraudulent acceptance letters and added that the department would “identify culprits, not penalize victims.”

In 2021, a total of 163,370 Indians renounced their citizenship, according to information shared by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The highest number of applications to renounce Indian citizenship, the data revealed, came from the US with 78,284, followed by Australia with 23,533, and Canada with 21,597.

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