Extended post-study work visa & easier access under India-Australia pact

India and Australia bilateral agreement for indian students and professionals

India and Australia, on April 2, inked an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) under which Indians will get easy access to Australia. The agreement is set to create new job opportunities and simplify the visa process for easy movement of students and professionals between the countries. 

The deal was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan in a virtual meeting on Saturday. “This agreement will facilitate the exchange of students, professionals, and tourists between us, which will further strengthen these relations,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said about the pact.

As part of the services sector deal under ECTA, Australia has set an annual quota of 1,800 working Indians to enter the country as contractual service suppliers. These professionals can stay in Australia for up to four years and can further extend their stay. 

The pact will also allow around one lakh Indian students to obtain an Australian post-study work visa. The move will offer extended working options to STEM specialists, graduates, and postgraduates from India. Students will now be able to stay for up to four years as part of the agreement. 

Additionally, Indian students pursuing diploma courses in Australia can apply for a visa for up to 18 months upon completion. Those pursuing bachelor’s can apply for a post-study work visa of up to two years. Students pursuing a master’s program or doctoral degree are eligible for three to four years of post-study work visa.

Under the pact, around 1,000 Indians in the 18-30 age group can get a work and holiday visa for 12 months. This is to ensure that the visa holders falling in the category can undertake training or study for at least four months or take paid or unpaid employment during the entire span of their stay. 

Apart from this, certain provisions under the ECTA will pave the way for a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in architecture, medical and nursing, and various other services between the two countries, which will directly facilitate the movement of professionals. 

It will take around four months for the deal to be implemented. 

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