Now that Australia has reopened its borders, students, who have been eagerly waiting to be back on their campuses, can return for their studies, and aspirants who have been wanting to apply for admissions can now apply without any further delays. According to Australian government statistics, as of late May 2022, 300,000 student visa holders had returned to the Land Down Under, with over a quarter hailing from India alone.
Australia endears people from across the globe with its magnificent golden beaches, stunning rainforests and wildlife. It is one of the world’s most highly urbanised nations and is the third most popular destination for international students in the English-speaking world, offering wide cultural diversity, a relaxed lifestyle and high-quality education.
There are 38 Australian universities featured in the recently-released QS World University Rankings 2022, with the University of Melbourne, UNSW, University of Sydney, University of Queensland and Australian National University ranking amongst the top 50 global universities. Australian universities are strong in research, excelling in areas such as STEM, business and medicine.
As well, Australia has a strong Vocational Education and Training sector, known as VET. Both public and private vocational providers are popular with Indian students who seek shorter academic programmes, such as certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas, that lead to defined career outcomes in high-demand employment areas. Half of all Indian students are enrolled in the VET sector.
In 2022, the Australian government relaxed work restrictions. International students can now work full time whilst they study, and they have the opportunity to stay once they have graduated, taking advantage of generous post-study work visa options. The Professional Year Program (PYP) allows graduates of accounting, information technology and engineering degrees to gain experience and mentoring in an Australian workplace and ultimately helps them in gaining permanent residency.
Prior to the pandemic, there were over 150,000 Indian students studying in Australia. Enrollments from India will surpass 100,000 in the middle of this year, demonstrating the popularity of Australia as a study destination in this post-COVID world. The most popular courses amongst Indian students are law, business, information technology, engineering, science and hospitality. Indian students find it easy to transfer to the Australian education system due to the similarity in both countries’ 10+2+3 education structures. Students can choose from a wide variety of Australian universities and education institutions to suit their specific needs and goals.
During the catastrophic COVID-19 times that caused havoc on the student community worldwide, the Australian government was swift to announce a slew of support measures to provide critical safety-net services to students. Several announcements were made, including the recommencing of student visa issuance and relaxing the eligibility requirements for a replacement post-study work visa (Temporary Graduate visa subclass 485). The government increased the length of stay on the Temporary Graduate visa from two to three years for a master’s degree by coursework graduates, matching that of master’s degrees by research graduates. Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two-year Temporary Graduate visa.
Demonstrating English-language proficiency to the Australian Department of Home Affairs is a prerequisite for Indian students applying for an Australian visa. ETS TOEFL® looks to support the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India (AAERI) to reduce the current students’ visa processing times by assisting them to verify TOEFL scores before visa lodgments.
In these difficult times, Australian institutes are offering additional time to applicants to furnish English-language results like the TOEFL iBT® test which is a key requirement to gain admission. The TOEFL iBT test is accepted by 100% of Australian universities and for all Australian temporary and permanent immigration visas including post-study, business and skilled migration.
The TOEFL iBT test measures students’ ability to confidently express themselves in English — skills they’ll need to succeed in an academic university environment. The TOEFL iBT test is globally regarded as a gold standard English-language assessment and is known for its accuracy and fairness in measuring academic English communication skills. The test can help students to stand out with confidence, both during the application process and throughout their education journey. In addition, the test is available in multiple formats. TOEFL iBT can be taken on a computer in a test centre or from home via TOEFL iBT Home Edition. In addition, test takers can opt for TOEFL iBT Paper Edition, in which the Reading, Listening and Writing sections are taken on paper at a test centre, followed by the Speaking section by computer from the comfort of home. These options put test takers in the driver’s seat to choose which option is best for them based on the requirements set by their desired destination or institution for study, immigration and so on.
While the pandemic did create unprecedented situations, the determination of Indian students to attain higher education has remained undeterred. The fine blend of high educational standards, linguistic diversity, friendly government provisions, work opportunities and support offered to students make Australia a high-quality destination for Indians. By choosing the TOEFL iBT test, students are showing Australian universities that they possess the English-language skills one needs for their degree and beyond. For more information, visit https://www.ets.org/s/toefl/destinations/au/.
(The writer Lejo Sam Oommen is the Managing Director of ETS India, a subsidiary of ETS based in Princeton, NJ, USA.)