August 9th, 2009 by Ravi Matah | Posted in News   Comments Off on AUSTRALIA TO PROTECT INDIAN STUDENTS
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External Affairs Minister, S.M.Krishna, who is on a five day visit to Australia to obtain first hand, the information regarding the attacks on Indian students in Australia, had met PM Kevin Rudd and other officials at the highest levels.

The Indian delegation’s pressure on Australia is now yielding results. Australia, in dire need to protect its’ billion dollars education industry, has announced changes in the courses as well as the roles played by the immigration agents there.

His comments came as reports in Australia said a number of migration and education agents were “duping” foreign students, including Indians, in Australia and were also offering “fake” work experience certificates.

Recently the Australian federal police raided the office of a Sydney-based Indian migration agent after ABC News claimed that he was involved in a scam of exploiting foreign students. ‘They will be dealt with ruthlessly’, Krishna said.

“We appreciate the fact that they have stepped up police patrolling in the problematic areas and have taken several other measures to deal with the safety issue,” he said.

“I have underlined that these things should be kept in place as long as they are needed. The two task forces that have been set up are examining the various issues related to the well-being of international students in Australia, including those from India,” Krishna said.

As per press reports released on Saturday, Vadbag Singh, 24, an Indian taxi driver in Richmond was brutally attacked by two Australians with scissors inside his taxi and the attackers demanded cash and a GPS unit from him.

Julia Gillard, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, announced that Liberal MP Bruce Baird will head the task force to analyse the situation and ensure implementation of the new measures.

Baird will also maintain proper liaison between Centre and State level officials, the leaders of different students associations so also  with Consulates and High Commissions of other countries in Australia.

He agreed that the attacks on Indian students had made a deep dent in the reputation of Australia in the international arena as an excellent education service provider. According to the press release, he stated that adequate steps are also being taken to ensure that Australian people behave properly with international students.

The Minister said specially designated student welfare officers would be available in the Indian High Commission and Consulates in Australia. They would focus on issues related to Indian students. “The officers will  be available every Friday for Indian students and  they can discuss any issue with them.” states a press release.

 Ravi Matah

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