Melbourne: The issue of security of Indian students in Australia, who had been target of racial attacks in the recent months, figured during the foreign ministers’ discussion on Thursday.

India’s External Affairs minister SM Krishna and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd had a detailed discussion on the matter during the Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue here.

“The Ministers noted measures taken by the Australian Government and states and territories in 2010 to address concerns over the safety and well being of Indian students in Australia,” a joint statement on the discussions said.

The Ministers noted that the next Joint Working Group on Education and Training is expected to be held in Australia in April 2011 and the annual Education Minister’s dialogue in India in September 2011.

The establishment of a new Australia-India Education Council will be further progressed through these meetings.

Krishna noted that the changes in the skilled migration programme had significantly impacted on Indian students already studying in Australia, many of whom had taken heavy loans to pursue their studies.

He requested consideration of Indian students who had come to Australia under the old rules being placed in a special category that allowed them to fulfill the demand that existed in Australia for their skills.

Rudd noted the components of February 8, 2010, changes to skilled migration in Australia and highlighted the generous transition arrangements for most holders of international student visas at the time of the changes.

Rudd also noted Australia’s review of its student visa program, announced in December 2010 and expected to be completed in mid-2011.