Australia is risking its international education reputation by keeping its borders closed, India's High Commissioner to the country has warned.
Manpreet Vohra was quoted by the Guardian Australia on Tuesday saying that Australia's strict border closure is causing frustration and anxiety among thousands of students who have not been able to enter the country to undertake their studies.
The Australian Government closed the country's borders to all non-residents and non-citizens in March 2020, crippling the lucrative international education industry.
As of July there were more than 150,000 international students enrolled in Australian universities outside of the country, including 88,769 students in China and 17,008 in India.
Vohra said that affected students would be understanding if restrictions endured for a reasonable length of time.
"But if they go on without any determination about when they are likely to end, then it leads to a lot of frustration, it leads to a lot of uncertainty, it leads to anxiety," he said.
"That is not good for the students, of course, directly affected; that is perhaps also not good for the overall image of Australia as a great place for Indian students."
The Australian federal government has previously urged state and territory governments to devise plans for the return of international students.
In January Education Minister Alan Tudge said he was open to "all options" but outbreaks of COVID-19 have forced states to put their plans on hold indefinitely.
Vohra said that "it would be a pity" for Australia's reputation among Indian students to erode as a result of border closures.
"They signed up for education here in your universities, they continue to pay a substantial amount of tuition fees. They are getting online education, of course, but that really is not what they signed up for," he said.
"We've been requesting the Australian government to consider ways and means to at least signal to the students a timeframe by which they can expect to be back."