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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, April 24 (IANS) There is good news for thousands of Indians studying in Australia as changes to the visa system, coming into effect Saturday, will give them automatic right to work in the country.

The Australian government has made changes to its visa system so that Indian citizens studying in Australia will automatically become eligible to work part time during their courses.

Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans said: "Under new processing arrangements, which come into effect April 26, all student visas will be granted with work rights attached, removing the need for people to make a separate application."

Until now, Indian students had to apply separately for permission to work part time while pursuing their studies in Australia.
"The changes mean that Indian students can now apply for part time jobs and work for up to 20 hours per week as soon as their courses start. It will reduce red tape for students wanting to work in Australia," Evans added.

Under the new arrangement, Indian citizens would also have to shell out less for the overall student visa fee.

The minister said: "Applicants from India will now be charged Australian $450 (Rs.17,000) for the visa and work permission, a saving of $40 (Rs.1,500) on the previous arrangements."

The process for applying for a student visa has also been streamlined.

"Successful applicants will now not need to have an Australian visa label in their passports as evidence of their visa grant. Instead, their visa information will be stored electronically for access through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service," Evans said.

The advantage of the online service is that it allows employers, government agencies, education providers and the visa holders themselves to check visa conditions such as expiry date, work and study restrictions.

A total of 34,146 student visas were granted to Indian citizens in the year ending June 2007. Overall 228,592 students from 191 countries got visas during the same period.

Today, India is the second largest source of overseas students and a significant contributor to Australia's international education market, which is worth Australian $12 billion ($11 billion) to the national economy.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.

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