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India-Australia free trade deal offers work and study rights

India-Australia’s free trade agreement has been grabbing headlines for the wine, wool and other industries, but inroads have been made with respect to immigration changes to benefit both countries.


Australian and Indian architects, engineers and accountants will be recognised in both countries. Under this new agreement India and Australia have agreed on mutual recognition of qualifications, licensing and registration procedures between those professional services. This promises that in the future those professional will not need to go through lengthy exam and approval processes to practise in each other’s country.


Post study work rights will allow Indian students the right to live, work and undertake further study in Australia for a number of years after they complete their initial study depndent on their course of study. After the completion of a diploma or trade qualification they will be able to work temporarily in Australia for up to 18 months. If the qualification is a bachelor’s degree, then the work time stretches to two years, for a master’s degree it is three years or four for a doctoral degree subject to other conditions and requirements.


Furthermore, those who graduate from science, technology, engineering, mathematics or information and communication technology subjects with first-class honours will be able to stay for an additional 12 months. Hence, those who graduate with a Bachelor in engineering with first-class honours can live and work in Australia for three years.


Under the new agreement Australia will grant 1000 visas per year in the Work and Holiday program to Indian citizens in the 18-30 age group. Currently India doesn’t have a similar regime but has promised to allow such visas on a reciprocal basis.


This trade agreement follows years of negotiations and in immigration terms it is a win-win situation for both countries as Australia faces acute labour shortages in unskilled, semi-skilled and highly skilled areas. While for India it opens new opportunities for access to education and for backpackers and young Indian citizens who want to work and explore Australia.


Indian government officials have described the deal as a major gain for India and something that they have been seeking for years. Now the Indian government aims to use the Australian deal as a basis for trade negotiations with the UK.


Further information about the Agreement can be found here

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