8 Jan 2010

Indian students turning away from Australia

3:58 pm on 8 January 2010

The number of Indian students wanting to study in Australia has slumped by almost 50%, according to figures from the Australian government.

Attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney made headlines in India last year. The BBC reports that they also soured diplomatic relations between Canberra and Delhi.

The Indian government has issued a travel advisory to students going to Australia, after the killing of a graduate student in Melbourne, Nitin Garg, 21, on Saturday night.

According to a report by Australia's Tourism Forecasting Committee in December, more than 70,000 Indians studied in Australia in 2009.

That's 19% of total international enrolments.

But the number applying for student visas has plummeted by 46%, according to figures from the Department of Immigration for last July to October.

International students are worth nearly $17 billion to the Australian economy each year. Education is the country's third biggest export after coal and iron ore.