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How Australia’s Doubled Visa Fees Affect Indian Students?

The cost of an international student’s student visa in Australia has more than doubled, from $710 to $1,600. This decision will affect the thousands of Indians who intend to study abroad.

The move has triggered outrage from student representatives who say that the price hike will drive potential students to competitors, ABC News reported on Monday.

From July 1, the international student visa fee has risen to $1,600 from $710. The federal government said the additional revenue will help fund initiatives in education including cuts to graduate debt, financial support for apprentices, and the ongoing implementation of its migration strategy, the report said.

“International education is an incredibly important national asset and we need to ensure its integrity and quality,” Minister for Education Jason Clare said in a statement.

According to the Indian High Commission in Canberra, the number of Indian students enrolled for studying in Australia is estimated at around 1,20,277 as of August 2023, making Indian students the second largest cohort of foreign students in Australia.

Meanwhile, Yeganeh Soltanpour, the national president of the Council of International Students Australia, slammed the decision, noting the fee increase, combined with high deposit costs, places extra strain on international students, the ABC report said.

“The possibility of spending all that money only to face rejection is quite disheartening for many students. It has caused many in the student community to explore other options and competitive countries,” she said.

Phil Honeywood, CEO of the International Education Association of Australia, told the ABC that the announcement was the “last straw” for the international education sector, which has already suffered from a slowdown in visa approvals.

“We are really in danger of losing a USD 48 billion a year industry,” he said, adding that it will “heavily impact” on relationships with our Indo-Pacific neighbours who rely on Australia to deliver world-class qualifications to young people. He warned that this change could drive prospective students to the United Kingdom, Australia’s closest competitor, which currently charges $900 for student visa fees.

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