15 Aug 2018
Australia: Senator Fraser Anning seeks drastic cut in student visas
An Australian senator has called for drastically reducing the student visa numbers in the country, where India is the second largest source of international students after China.
Fraser Anning, from the conservative Bob Katter's Australian Party, in his maiden speech at the Senate yesterday, targeted foreign students by asking for an end to "Australian-job-stealing 457 visas", SBS News reported.
Anning made some really controversial remarks
"Student visas should be drastically reduced in number. This will create more university places for Australians, whose parents have actually paid for the universities with their taxes," Anning said.
"Those studying here who decide to apply to immigrate should be required to return to their country of origin after their qualification and to apply as part of the general migration program," he added.
Around 200 nationalities represent Australia's international student population
Close to 200 nationalities are represented in Australia's international student population.
Of the total, more than half (54%) of all international students in the country come from five sending markets: China (30%), India (11%), Nepal (5%), Malaysia (4%), and Brazil (4%), according to a report by ICEF Monitor, a market intelligence resource for the international education industry.
Australia witnessing public debate on immigration
The data came at a time when Australia is witnessing fierce public debate on immigration amidst concern about jobs and overcrowding in major cities.
The 457 visa program allowed businesses to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there was a shortage of Australian workers. The majority of the visa holders under the category were from India.
Over 290,000 Indians migrated to Australia in 16 years
As many as 291,916 Indians migrated to Australia between 2000 and 2016, of which 154,012 individuals have acquired Australian citizenship, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in July.
Anning didn't leave Islamophobia behind in his speech
Anning also alleged that Muslims were responsible for acts of terror and crime and were dependent on welfare. Muslims account for less than 3% of Australia's population, census data shows. "The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote," Anning concluded.