Australian Federal Elections have been quite bitter and a lot is at stake. Over the last six years of the Labour Government, the Export of Education was impacted quite severely especially in context of the Indian market. Lets look at the Student Visas issued to Indian Sub-Continental students during this period… It is the offshore visa statistics taken from the immigration site on this link.
Now, we can give various reasons for this trend but all in the know that it is largely due to the tightening of the skill migration program and/or the transmitted perception that Australia aimed to restrict access to work market signficantly.
These are what appears on the face of it though. And only so. There are some undercurrents too…
Population of those from Indian Origin is increasing significantly over the years and it is expected that in a few years it will touch 1 Million. This is about 5% of the total population and if we consider that this population is concentrated in certain pockets of larger cities, it changes the game altogether. Any such change and I must say inevitable change in the demographics has a much more lasting impact. We can see the thrust now being given to Asian languages and also the fact that Hindi is one of the languages identified for additional study at the school level. While this may only be a measure to appeal to the population of these new migrants, it has also other messages associated to it.
By the time the elections arrive again in three years, we can get prepared for constituencies where we may even celebrate with candidates of South Asian origin.
So, what can we expect from the elections facing us this weekend…
THE ECONOMIST is one of the widely respected publications in the world and not as partisan as the newspapers and media in Australia. The current issue features the Australian Elections and I share the first page of that where the role of migrants from Indian region is indicated… It will be even more in the years ahead when thousands of current PR (who were Students during the student visa peak) will become Citizens and hence voters.
I will be observing “anxiously” the election day unfurl and will be at the residence of the Australian Ambassador in Nepal in the evening and in the company also of senior members of the DIAC and AEI. Also of 24 Australian Education Providers who are traveling for a Global Reach organized Australian Education Promotion. I look forward to gathering their observation on what can be expected over the next three years… Will all that has been promised prior to elections really turn out as reality. If yes, there is a concern there too. If no, that is a concern too.