According to reports, the ministry has prepared a proposal for granting “limited work permit” to international students “in selected areas/segments” to increase their enrollment in higher education institutions in India.
“This has been one of the disincentives for international students”
The proposal follows a series of recent measures to revamp international education in the country, including a new online application portal for overseas students and an increase in universities offering courses on Indian languages and culture.
Fee waivers are also being offered to prospective students from 30 countries across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
However, the Indian visa system currently does not allow work permits for international students.
“This issue will be relooked to allow limited work permit in selected areas/segments where there is an imbalance in demand and supply and shortage of trained or highly skilled human resources in India,” a ministry official said.
According to the Deccan Herald, the HRD ministry also wants change in the visa regime to allow paid internship for foreign students.
“This has been one of the disincentives for international students,” the official added.
It is expected that the HRD ministry will soon approach the Union Home Ministry with the proposal.
“International students come on student visas so they cannot work off-campus,” a public relations officer at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay told The PIE News.
“We are yet to get any such directives from the ministry but we will comply with whatever the ministry [asks].”
India has the world’s third-largest higher education system, including over 800 universities and a capacity for 20 million students.
Earlier in July, India’s finance minister proposed to allocate Rs 400 crore (£46.6 million) to create “world-class institutions” to attract a greater number of international students.
However, concerns have been raised over whether India is ready for such an ambitious campaign.