By Ram Khatry, Canowindra
11 December 2018
Statistics suggests Australia appeals to Nepalese students the most when they are between 20 to 24 years of age with full of youthful readiness to a build better life in some distant land.
A government report shows 4137 twenty-somethings from the Himalayan nation were granted visa between July 1 to October 31 of the current financial year as against 2155 in the 15-19 age group and 2760 in 25-29.
The 20-24 age group dominates statistics from all past financial years, data shows.
Just four months into the current financial year, an impressive 10,230 Nepalese nationals and their “secondary applicants” have already been granted visa to take up various courses in Australia as against 7,236 the same period last year.
According to a recently-updated report of the Department of Home Affairs, over three thousand arrived in the month of July alone.
So far as the 20-24 age group is concerned, the figure stood at only 3163 same period last financial year against 2042 in 2016-17, 1178 in 2015-16 and 1111 in 2014-15. This steady growth clearly indicates that the number of Nepalese students hopping on a plane is only growing by the year since an armed struggle by Maoist guerrillas forced youths to seek future elsewhere.
In 2005-06, only 149 students (including secondary applicants) in the 20-24 age group were granted visa in the first four months of the financial year whereas the corresponding number stands at over 4,000 this financial year – no doubt a phenomenal increase despite Nepal’s successful peace process which was expected to check its brain drain.
A total of 26,579 Nepalese nationals were granted students visa last financial year. With 87,731 granted visas, China was the biggest source of international students for Australia while India stood second at 49,469.
In 2016-17, Brazil was ahead of Nepal with 20,428 visa grants against the latter’s 18,507. But the small mountain republic overtook Brazil in 2017-18 with 26,679 versus Brazil’s 21,721.
The steady growth in the population of Nepalese students has meant there are more Nepalese-speaking Australians today than ever before.
One only has to take an evening walk through the bustling streets of Sydney suburbs like Rockdale and Auburn to feel the Nepalese presence down under.