According to the latest official data, there were 65,000 Indian students in Australia in the year to June, mostly in vocational education. Although they constitute smaller number as compared to Chinese students but their growth rate was much higher – up to about 55 per cent as compared to China's 19 per cent.
While India was not alone in moving up the risk scale, Visa applicants from Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Romania and Zimbabwe will also have to now do extra work to show that they were bona-fide students.
"The status of these nine countries had been changed 'to combat increased levels of immigration risk'," an spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
The spokesperson, however, said "genuine applicants had nothing to fear from the changes".
"All universities were likely to have asked students to lodge their visa applications and processed before September 1 change in immigration risk levels, which affects a host of overseas markets," the pro-Vice Chancellor (international) of New South Wales University, Jennie Lang said.
We will also be encouraging (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) staff in offshore posts to ensure that university sector applicants are given priority, Lang was quoted in The Australian newspaper.
The students of the nine countries will have to give extra evidence of their capacity to support themselves financially, especially with savings histories, the report said.
The risk levels are set across various sectors, including English language courses, vocational education and higher degrees.
The higher risk assessment affects all sectors of the Indian education market, which moved up by one level. In the latest year-to-date figures from Australian Education International, there were more than 392,000 overseas students in Australia, representing almost a 20 per cent increase in enrolments.
India, China and Nepal continued to be strong growth markets, but those such as Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan continued to decline.