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Indian students in Australia safer than most?

Luke Henriques-Gomes

Wed May 16 2012

Indian students protest in 2009, after a string of violent crimes. Photo: Will Ockenden

AUSTRALIAN Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he’s carried out research which shows Indian international students in Australia are less likely to be attacked than others. Luke Henriques-Gomes reports.

Indian students protest in 2009 after a string of violent crimes. Photo: Will Ockenden

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has told Indian media that Indian students are less prone to attacks than other people living in Australia.

“We did do some analysis and found that Indian students in Australia were less likely to be attacked than other people in the Australian community,” Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen made the comment while meeting India’s Minister for Overseas Affairs, Valayar Ravi, on a tour of the subcontinent.

Journalists asked if he could assure the safety of Indian students in Australia in light of a series of violent crimes against members of the Indian community in 2009.

“We have such a large number of people in Australia, of course from time to time there will be incidents,” Mr Bowen said.

“But I think the measures put in place and the results we have seen certainly indicate that we have had some success.”

A spokesperson for Mr Bowen was unable to confirm the Minister’s specific source but Meld believes he was referring to an Australian Institute of Criminology study released last year.

The study, conducted between 2005 and 2009, found Indian students were less likely to be victims of assault or theft than the rest of the Australian population.

But it also found international students were more likely to be victims of personal robbery and that Indian students were assaulted most out of all international student groups.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says Indian students are safe in Australia. Photo: Kate Lundy

Meanwhile, a new report by the Department of Immigration says the number of visas granted to Indian students is up 43 per cent since this time last year.

More than 27,000 visas were granted to Indian students  – about 14 per cent of all student visas.

But Australia still takes most of its international students from China, with 20 per cent of all visas being granted to Chinese students.

The report comes as issues of international student safety are raised again following a violent attack on Chinese students in Sydney last month.

Chinese social media went into meltdown, and there were fears of a backlash from international students considering Australia for study.

This week a group of Chinese students took out a full-page ad in Sydney’s free-daily MX.

The organisers called on their peers to speak out against “racism, rail crime and youth violence” and demanded the NSW Government take measures to protect students.

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