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Posted at: Jan 23, 2018, 1:34 AM; last updated: Jan 23, 2018, 1:34 AM (IST)

Oz group wants visa class for PhD students

Working to disrupt Indian preference for US, UK as top research study destinations

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 22

Australia’s leading universities are working to disrupt the historical Indian preference for the US and the UK as research study destinations.

In a crucial report today, the Group of Eight (Go8) – a conglomeration of Australia’s top eight universities — launched “Report on Australia-India taskforce on two-way mobility of PhD students between India and Australia”, recommending ways to increase research level partnerships between the two countries.

The report requests the Australian Government to establish a special class of visa for researchers and PhD graduates. The idea is to improve Australia’s image as research study destination in comparison to the US and UK.

“Among the number of recommendations to ease mobility strictures, the Go8 bilateral taskforce is strongly recommending that this can be achieved should the Australian Government establish a special class of visas for researchers and PhD graduates to counter the global perception, one very evident in India, that Australia is ambivalent about attracting the best research talent from around the world,” concludes the report of the taskforce co-chaired by Peter Hoj, Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland and Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay.

“Increased PhD student mobility between the two countries is of significant economic benefit and should be recognised as such by both governments. It’s evident that such mobility will enhance the already solid Go8-India research projects that have delivered positive industry, agriculture, and medical health outcomes for the two nations,” the report says.

There were 1,01,850 Indian PG students in the US in 2015-16, but Australia had only 31,653. Out of 1,139 foreign PhD students in India in 2015-16, there was only one from Australia.

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