By Ravneet Pawha
In April this year, with an aim to strengthen its partnership, India inked an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) with Australia. Along with other sectors, education has been recognized as a fundamental pillar of the agreement and the relationship between the two countries. With this agreement, India has given wings to the dreams of Indian students to study in prominent Australian universities and earn an international degree- a key eligibility to become a global citizen. The deal with its visionary provisions will support students in turning dreams into reality while making their path easier.
In today’s interconnected and interdependent world, it is extremely critical for students to have global exposure. This is the reason why the demand for international education among Indian students is rising by the day. In such a changing scenario, ECTA is a welcome move to give students an opportunity to fulfil their study abroad aspirations. It has many encouraging elements-such as visa extension, intensifying research, and MRAs (Mutual Recognition Agreements) -that will facilitate students in making quick decisions about their foreign education.
ECTA paves the way for such students to study in Australia which has been a popular choice for Indian students over the years. The agreement aims to simplify the visa process which will make the movement of students easier. It contains provisions to provide post-study work visas to Indian students to pursue their Australian education dream. Under the agreement, Indian graduates, postgraduates and STEM experts will be granted extended post-study work visas.
Students pursuing diploma courses will now be eligible to apply for visas for up to 18 months upon the completion of the program. Similarly, students pursuing bachelor’s can now apply for up to two years and students pursuing master’s or doctoral programs can apply for up to four years of post-study work visas. So, there will be an opportunity to work in Australia for up to four years.
Additionally, Australia will provide work and holiday visas to around 1000 Indians in the age group of 18 to 30 for one year. It will enable students to enroll in a study or training program for up to four months or they can join a job for the entire duration. It will definitely be an opportunity for students to get global exposure, enhance their skills, or boost their financial conditions.
At the same time, this agreement also emphasises on intensifying research between the two countries. This will enable collaborations between Indian and Australian universities and create an enabling environment for researchers. Students with an inclination for research will have a great chance to pursue research and succeed. Simultaneously, with the deal, the governments intend to start dual degree programs which will increase the level of research.
The agreement also encompasses provisions to initiate dialogues between the professional bodies of the two countries. The topics will include MRAs in nursing, architecture and other services. It will provide travelling ease to professionals, allowing Indian workers to explore the possibilities in Australia. At present, 1500 Indian CAs are working in Australia under MRA. With this agreement, it can be expected that professionals from other fields may join them in the days to come.
With these impactful provisions, the deal seems to elevate the level of cooperation in the education sector while providing impetus and ease to students. Due to its high quality, strict accreditation standards, robust support system for international students, relevant curriculum and better return on investment, Australian education has been in the top tier of demand globally. This visionary deal between the two countries will enable Indian students to reap the benefits of a sophisticated education system and accomplish life goals.
(Disclaimer: Ravneet Pawha is the Vice-President (Global Alliances) & CEO (South Asia) of Deakin University. The views expressed in the article are those of the author. Zee News does not confirm it.)