India plans to lodge a protest with Australia against the proposed changes in its migration policy that are likely to impact as many as 80,000 existing Indians students in the country, an official said on Thursday.
"Till recently, the racial attacks on Indians was a problem but the bigger problem that is seen emerging is the new migration rules coming into effect from July 1. This will impact a large number of international students, majority of which are from India and China," said a senior official from the Indian consulate in Sydney.
The official said the Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi will be in Sydney on June 12 and meet his counterparts in Sydney on the matter.
"The issue of change in migration rules and its impact on Indian students figures top on his agenda," he said, adding that Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde who is visiting
Sydney on Friday is also likely to take up this cause with the relevant authorities, the official said.
"We are not opposing the migration rule change and the government is well within its right to do so. This law should not be made applicable with retrospective effect as proposed by the Australian government," the official said.
Shinde is on a five-day visit to Australia to discuss energy co-operation. Congress MP Manish Tewari is also in Sydney and is expected to meet All International Students Association in Australia President Navjot Singh on the matter.
"Indian government has not done enough. We are losing hope. We will meet Manish Tewari tomorrow and Minister Ravi on Tuesday and brief them on this matter as also on attacks on
Indian students. We feel cheated by Australian authorities over the immigration issue," Singh said.
According to the High Commission officials, the Indian government is extremely concerned about its students in Australia. The students feel that they have been misled and
after having been charged large amounts of money for education in Australia, they may be asked to leave the country for "no fault of theirs".
There are over 5 lakh foreign students in Australia, bulk of which come from India and China. There are around 95,000 Indian students and the fate of as many as 80,000 may
get affected if the policy changes proposed by the Kevin Rudd government come into force next month.
Increased protests and rallies are being staged by various international student bodies since the proposed changes to Australia's existing migration policy were announced in February this year.