Indian High Commissioner holds video conference with diaspora leaders, warns students against scammers


2 May 2020 I Indian High Commissioner to Australia has warned the Government of India is planning no “charter flights” to repatriate its citizens including international students “stranded” down under. The warning comes amid concerns that vulnerable students, many already under serious financial duress due to COVID-19 restrictions, are being targeted by scammers.

President of the Federation of Indian Associations of New South Wales, Dr Yadu Singh, had earlier used his Facebook account to warn against elements that were trying to collect personal information from vulnerable Indians. The Sydney-based cardiologist claimed that scammers were “collecting personal details and taking bookings for flights back to India from Indian nationals stuck in Australia”.

Indian diaspora-southasia.com.au
Photo: Supplied

During their video conference with the High Commission, Dr Yadu Singh (Sydney), Dr Sunita Dhindsa (Canberra), Shyam Das (Brisbane), Amit Singh Jadaun (Melbourne), Ajit Ramadas (Hobart), Harpal Singh (Darwin), Atul Garg (Perth) and Prashant Singh (Perth) representing various Indian organizations shared their concerns about various aspects of the diaspora, in particular, the predicament of vulnerable international students from their country of origin.

During today’s videoconference with the forerunners of the Indian diaspora across the country, High Commissioner of India Gitesh Sarma told participants that the Government of India had no immediate plans to organise “repatriation/charter flight” to India.

In a series of Tweets, the HCI said neither its office nor any of its consulates across Australia were currently processing any rescue flights to India.

“As and when there are developments with regard to the possibility of travel to India, in accordance with decisions of Government of India, relevant information will be circulated through official social media platforms,” HCI tweeted.

One only needs to look at the Australian government statistics to understand just how important protecting these Indian international students is.

Of the total 593,718 international students that were present in Australia in February this year, 16% were from the South Asian giant followed by 8% from its neighbour, Nepal.

India is the second most important exporter of international students to Australia after China.

With 15.9%, Indian students were the biggest cohort in 2019 when it came to VET enrolments followed by Nepalese students at 10.3%.

There were 758,154 international students in Australia in 2019 representing a 9.7% increase in enrolments over 2018 compared with an average annual enrolments growth rate of 10.3% per year over the preceding five years.


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