Several Indians pack bags, head home from Australia

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NEW DELHI: Australian authorities have been promising action to curb the continuing attacks on international students and communities. But Indian students aren’t waiting. Several are packing their bags and heading home for good. That’s despite incurring a loss ranging from Rs 12-20 lakh per student. 


"There are no statistics available. But several Indian students are either leaving or have left and are not coming back. The primary reasons are lack of safe living conditions and absence of job security," says Gautam Gupta, secretary, Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA). Over 150,000 Indian students are studying in Australia today. 


Gupta talks of a couple who came to Australia in June 2009 to study and left within three months in October 2009 after the husband got beaten up at Carnegie station, Melbourne. "They said, "We didn’t come here to be beaten up. What wrong have we done to be treated like this?" says Gupta. 


Sejal Shah (name changed on request), 26, is another such student. She was confident of a secure future when she went to Melbourne early 2008. She hadn’t dreamt that 18 months later in November 2009 —- six months short of completing her course —- she’d be returning without a degree in hand. 


"Even if I got an Australian qualification, I wasn’t sure of a getting a job anymore," says the student of business and finance from Melbourne’s La Trobe University. The tension was palpable, only five out of the current batch of 150 students had landed jobs. She chucked the residency dream: as per Australian law, a degree would have ensured her residency. But insecurity and sense of threat to Indians further pushed her to return, says the Gujarat resident. Parental concern saw to it that Ambala’s Avinash Minocha returned within a year of his two-year accounting course. He came to India on vacation in December but parents told him to stay put at home.

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