Youth Importance amongst Indian Diaspora
By Joseph.F. Kolapudi : The author is an international member of India-Australia Youth Forum, Global Youth.
Growth of the Indian diaspora is not an uncommon occurrence; yet the youth of India have always gravitated towards learning through living overseas. In no other country is this more evident than in Australia. Australia’s Bureau of Statistics in 2021 has identified Indian citizens as constituting the fastest growing migrant population group residing in the country incorporating over 700,000 of the total population. Such unprecedented growth has made an impact on all important sectors, including Australian immigration policies. This is evident by a recent strategic report known as the India Economic Strategy 2035.
Advised by the former High Commissioner to India and senior advisor to the Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Peter Varghese, the strategy outlines the importance of the Indian diaspora with regards to Australia’s future growth trajectory, and specifically points to India’s international student population as “high calibre students who will help drive future economic growth in Australia and integration with India”. This includes students under the age of 35 who are willing and able to relocate themselves across the country for educational opportunities.
Implications of a growing Indian international student population within Australia are manifold; but mostly consists of three main areas of development, including (1) economic growth; (2) emerging leadership and (3) cultural empowerment.
After understanding the educational advantages of studying overseas, Indian students seeking higher education have been able to utilize their newfound knowledge to upskill beyond traditional education in recent times; this includes advancing career opportunities through online learning. Hybrid education has become the new norm, and has resulted in many benefits for students aiding them in entering the professional workplace at a younger age.
A balance between international education and professional development, especially in terms of progression towards senior roles in the corporate sector, has provided a variety of opportunities for young students. A particularly visible example of this is the emergence of the student professionals, who are able to engage and connect beyond the confines of a classroom and expand their horizons for future growth.
Young students are becoming young professionals in their respective fields, which has led to identification of leadership roles within sectors, such as the information technology, nonprofit and service sectors. As a result, students have been able to balance tertiary education with employment opportunities simultaneously, leading to accelerated growth and the identification of areas of future development for the next wave of students, fostering a capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, Indian students studying abroad are able to find opportunities to remain in-country, leading to the growth of a new generation of Australian-born Indians. There now exists a third-generation of Indians within Australia (i.e. both parents born in Australia, of Indian heritage, having grandparents born overseas in India). Having a shared cultural identity, they are able to coexist and benefit from a lived experience of both Indian traditions and Australian perspectives.
Due to an increasing number of Indian international students considering Australia as a major destination for future educational opportunities, Australian public universities have shown increased efforts in making the Indian diaspora one of their target demographies so much so that the current deputy vice chancellor of the University of Melbourne stated recently that “bilateral relations have improved so remarkably that it is helping put Australia on the map a little more…it is making Australia more prominent in the Indian national conscience” (Australian Financial Review, 2023).
This has also led to inclusion of emerging young professionals in the area of political engagement and diplomacy, leading to the establishment of certain government-supported initiatives, such as the Australian Indian Youth Dialogue (AIYD) as well as young representatives, advising the federal government as part of the Australia-India Council. Moreover, the Australian Government recently allocated federal funds to establish a new research facility, known as the Center for Australia-India Relations, which is expecting initiation by the end of 2023. Indian representation in the public sphere has become increasingly important as the diaspora grows and adopts a unique identity in the face of a diverse and multicultural landscape.
Areas of engagement for diasporic youth have enlarged exponentially over the past few years, and will continue to grow as demand for young skilled professionals across corporate and educational sectors become areas of special interest.
As these young professionals become aware of opportunities for growth, this will further enable others across the South Asian subcontinent to create new opportunities within their areas of expertise.
For the Indian diaspora, the platform for future growth has emerged within Australia, led by young leaders who are shaping the very fabric of societal growth and opportunities for the next generation of youth who will follow in their footsteps and create new paths forward.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2021). Australia’s Population by Country of Birth. Sourced fromhttps://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/australias-population-country-birth/latest-release.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2022). Centre for Australia-India Relations. Sourced from https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/india/bolstering-our-ties-india/request-submissions-shaping-centre-australia-india-relations/centre-australia-india-relations
Varghese, P. (2018). An India Economic Strategy to 2035. Sourced from https://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/trade-and-investment/india-economic-strategy/ies/overview.html.
Julie, H. and Campbell, K. (2023). Indian students are flooding into Australia to fill job shortages. Sourced from