All Fully Vaccinated Int’l Students Allowed to Return to Australia From February 21

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After marking one of the longest COVID-19 isolations globally, the Australian government will open its doors for all international students who are fully vaccinated against the virus.

The decision becomes effective on February 21 and will affect over 500,000 international students in the country, in addition to all people who have put their duties on hold due to the pandemic, Erudera.com reports.

“From February 21, 2022, all fully vaccinated visa holders can travel to Australia without a travel exemption. Unvaccinated visa holders will still need a valid travel exemption to enter Australia,” the country’s Home Affairs Department announces.

Australia has imposed the longest travel ban out compared to other countries as the government has announced borders closure from March 2020. A similar approach was noticed by the United States of America, which held a travel barrier for European citizens for almost two years.

>> More International Students Returning to Australian University Campuses

“It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia. If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia,” Morrison said after a meeting of the national security cabinet.

According to the Department of Education, Australia counts 568,746 international students for the January-November 2021 period, marking a 17 percent decline compared to last year’s corresponding period.

The top nationalities to pursue their education in Australia throughout 2021 are Chinese students (169,881) – making up for 28 percent of the total, followed by Indians with 99,523 (17 percent), and Nepal with 45,461 students accounting for eight percent of the total and also marking a 13 percent decrease from last year.

Recently, Australia’s neighboring country, New Zealand has announced its initial reopening stages, which will start just a week after Australia – from February 27. This means that some 5,000 international students will be able to enter the country from April 12 and attend their classes in person.

The first ones to be permitted in the country will be New Zealanders and other eligible travelers from Australia, while the second step will include reopening for New Zealanders, skilled workers, and those Working on Holiday Scheme visas.

While Australia and New Zealand have decided to reopen their borders for international students, Japan continues to impose stringent rules for international arrivals. The Asian country had announced it would reopen for international students in gradual stages by first admitting 87 of them on January 30 and then 400 more getting the nod for entry. However, the majority of 147,000 international students are left outside Japan, having received permission to study in the country.

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