This is in addition to opening the doors further for Indian IT professionals and managers who can get up to four-year visas, either as contractual workers on an onsite job or as part of intra-company transfers.
Besides, mutual recognition agreements for professionals such as nurses and doctors will ensure that the qualifications of Indian medical professionals will be recognised in Australia. “We are planning to finalise these mutual recognition agreements in the next 12 months,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said after the signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) with Australia on Saturday.
Government officials described the visa concessions as a major gain for India, something that India has been seeking for years through its agreements with Asean, Japan and South Korea, but did not make sufficient headway. Now, the government intends to use the Australia ECTA as the basis during its trade treaty negotiations with the UK. On their part, the UK and Australia have agreed to a similar dispensation on visas.
The agreement offers massive gains for Indian students in Australia with those pursuing diploma courses eligible for visas of up to 18 months after their programme ends. Similarly, those completing a bachelor’s degree can get up to two years as part of the post-study work visas. And those who complete a master’s programme and doctoral work will get up to three and four years, respectively.
Besides, those in the 18-30 age group can get a “work and holiday” visa for Australia with 1,000 such visas promised annually. India, which doesn’t have such a regime at the moment, has also promised to allow such visas on a reciprocal basis in case it implements a similar programme in the future, a source said.
For corporate and contractual workers, the visa concessions go beyond IT to include engineering, consulting (excluding legal), architectural and accounting.