Yeah, it used to. That q.v. is telling you that there’s related information elsewhere in the text, so you have to ‘ctrl-f’ your way through Hobson-Jobson to the entry for griffin. We get:
Griffin, Griff, s. (also Griffish, adj.) One newly arrived in India, and unaccustomed to Indian ways and peculiarities; a Johnny Newcome.
The origin of the phrase is unknown to us. There was an Admiral Griffin who commanded in the Indian seas from Nov., 1746, to June, 1748, and was not very fortunate. Had his name to do with the origin of the term? The word seems to have been first used at Madras.
(page 303 of the book, page 357 of the pdf)
Yule and Burnell, bless them, include for us several examples. The last two are from a later edition of the dictionary:
(1794- Hugh Boyd- Madras) "As I am little better than an unfledged Griffin, according to the fashionable phrase here"
(1807- Ld. Minto in India) "It seems really strange to a griffin- the cant word for a European just arrived."
(1836- Letters from Madras) "I often tire myself... rather than wait for their dawdling; but Mrs. Staunton laughs at me and calls me a Griffin,' and says I must learn to have patience and save my strength.”
(1836- Letters from Madras) "he was living with bad men, and saw that they thought him no better than themselves, but only more griffish.”
(1853- Oakfield, pp 38) "There were three more cadets on the same steamer, going up to that great griff depot, Oudapoor [Udaipur]."
(1853- Oakfield, pp 62) "Ah, they don't give griffs half of it now-a-days; by Jove, Sir, when I was a griff..."
(1900- Pioneer Mail, May 18th) "Ten Rangoon sportsmen have joined to import ponies from Australia on the griffin system, and have submitted a proposal to the Stewards to frame their events to be confined to griffins at the forthcoming autumn meeting."
What's interesting about these is that some of the instances are capitalized and some of them are not, and the first two mentions explain what the word means and the others do not.
So, yes, it is very likely the case that this was one of griffin's old meanings, though it doesn't seem to have been used as a generic term for any newcomer; it was used mainly only to refer to Westerners in India. I should mention that I've never once in my life heard it used like that even though I spend quite a lot of time in India, and this sense of the word has probably died out.
(The sense of 'novice' seems to be limited to just orombarros, no definition for griffin includes this.)
It also pops up in the forward, where the authors imply that the sense was at least somewhat known in England:
A certain percentage of such [Indianisms] have been carried to England by the constant reflux to their native shore of Anglo-Indians, who in some degree imbue with their notions and phraseology the circles from which they had gone forth.
Of words that seem to have been admitted to full franchise, we may give examples in curry, toddy, veranda, cheroot, loot, nabob, teapoy, sepoy, coury; and of others familiar enough to the English ear, though hardly yet received into citizenship, compound, batta, pucka, chowry, baboo, mahout, aya, nautch, first-chop, competition-wallah, griffin, &c.
Griffin is also in the addendum and an entry for reinol, a word that it seems to be synonymous too. I haven't included those as they add nothing to the definition given above.
Also see this, this, and this book titled 'Charles D’Oyly’s Lost Satire of British India: Tom Raw, the Griffin, 1828.'
As for that Admiral Griffin theory: This seems to be referring to Admiral Thomas Griffin (who rather resembles a frigatebird). He did indeed serve in Madras, but I can't find any other supporting evidence for this. What makes me a little inclined to doubt the idea that the word itself originated in Madras is that Madras is a predominantly Tamil-speaking city, and there's no native /f/ sound in Tamil. This isn't to say that they can't pronounce it, but most Tamilian accents will pronounce words such as 'tiffin' as /tɪpən/. This includes Tamil speakers in Chennai.
It's not in any of the major dictionaries, but it is in Dictionary.com's second entry for griffin:
(in India and the East) a newcomer, especially a white person from a Western country.
First recorded in 1785–95; origin uncertain
griffinage, griffinhood, griffinism, griffinish
And from Wiktionary:
griffin: (dated, India) A person who has just arrived from Europe.
griff: (India) griffin, (white) newcomer.
griffish: (India, dated) Resembling or characteristic of a griff or griffin, a white person newly arrived in India from Europe.