Australian varsities for special visas to Indian researchers

New Delhi :The Group of Eight (Go8), which comprises Australia’s eight research universities, has advocated relaxed visa norms between Australia and India for students seeking to do Ph.D in either country.

In a report put together by academics of both the countries and launched on Monday, the body identified lack of finance and awareness and other logistical barriers as a few of the obstacles hampering the vice versa flow of Ph.D students.

The report also recommended to the Australian government to establish a “special class of visa for researchers and Ph.D graduates”.

“As the Indian government has launched a number of initiatives to reform Indian economy, Make in India being of foremost importance, we have looked at how Indian companies and Australian companies based in India can jointly sponsor Indian students to students to study on Ph.D projects relevant to their businesses,” Vicki Thomson, Go8 CEO, said at the launch.

Director of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Devang Khakhar, spoke of the need for Ph.D holders in India to fulfil the burgeoning requirement of faculties in education institutions.

“There is a great need of Ph.Ds as the number of institutes of learning have increased in India and these would be needing faculty members,” Khakhar, one of the members of the team which wrote the report, said.

Khakhar later told IANS that IIT Bombay has been running a joint Ph.D programme with the Monash University of Australia for 11 years and from this year on it will invite Australian students to do their Ph.Ds here. Earlier, only Indian students were benefiting from the joint Ph.D programme.

According to the numbers cited in the report, by 2016 a total of 1,093 Indian students were enrolled in Ph.D. in Australia — a number which has increased by over 60 per cent since 2006.

However, the report mentioned the number of Ph.D students formed only a small part of the entire Indian student body.

On the other hand, as per the 2015-16 Human Resource Development Ministry’s report, only one candidate from Australia was enrolled in a Ph.D programme in India.