Once the agreement passes, some of the 100,000 Indian students in Australia can get a four-year visa and work as tech professionals or managers, said reports. Source: Narinder Nanu/AFP

Here’s some welcome news for Indian students: the historic Australia-India trade deal will mean eligible Indian students can extend their length of stay in the country.

Australia signed the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA) with India on Saturday, which will strengthen the country’s relationship while making Australian exports to India cheaper and creating new opportunities for workers and businesses.

In a statement, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the Australia-India agreement would create new opportunities for jobs and businesses in both countries. 

Both countries will also facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications, licensing and registration procedures between professional services bodies in both countries.

Indian IT professionals and managers can also get up to four-year visas, either as contractual workers on an onsite job or as part of intra-company transfers, reported The Times of India.

The mutual recognition agreements for professionals — including nurses and doctors — will mean the qualifications of Indian medical professionals will be recognised in Australia. 

“We are planning to finalise these mutual recognition agreements in the next 12 months,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal was quoted saying after the signing of the Australia-India agreement.


Under the Australia-India agreement, Australia will provide new access for young Indians to participate in working holidays in Australia. Source: Manpreet Romana/AFP

Australia-India agreement: Goodies in store for Indian students

Tehan added that the length of stay for an Indian student with a bachelor’s degree with first-class honours will be extended from two to three years post-study in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

Once the agreement passes, some of the 100,000 Indian students in Australia can get a four-year visa to stay on after their studies while working as tech professionals or managers, said the Daily Mail.

The University of Technology Sydney’s Professor Tim Harcourt told Daily Mail Australia that allowing some Indian students to get a four-year visa after their studies fits in with a long-term goal.

“There is this view of education that you don’t just go for open-cut mining, which is getting students here,” he was quoted saying.

“With India we also have quite a lot of joint ventures, research partnerships, because India has quite sophisticated engineering (skills) and similar language and institutions.”

Australia will also provide new access for young Indians to participate in working holidays in Australia. Places in Australia’s Work and Holiday programme will be set at 1,000 per year; Australia will have two years to implement the outcome. 

The Work and Holiday visa allows individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 to have a working holiday in the country.

In a statement, Universities Australia said it welcomes the signing of a historic Australia-India trade deal as “a significant step forward in fostering stronger relations with one of our nation’s largest export markets as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“The value of this agreement to Australia both in terms of education, productivity, trade relations and cultural understanding is substantial,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson.

“Before the pandemic, international export income contributed around 40 billion Australian dollars to the nation’s economy. Of the A$40 billion, Indian students contributed around A$6.1 billion.

“The agreement will support new opportunities for Indian and Australian students and graduates, boost qualification recognition and guarantee that Australian service providers receive the best treatment accorded by India to any future free trade agreement partner.”

India is Australia’s second-largest source of international students; nearly 70,000 Indian students are studying in Australian universities.