Australian Universities Prepare for New Semester, Welcome Return of Domestic & International Students

Australia Oceania COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Feb 21, 2022

University of Melbourne

Universities Australia, the voice of Australia’s universities which represents 39 universities in the country, has issued a statement saying that it warmly welcomes the safe return of domestic and international students in campuses as they prepare for the beginning of semester one.

Chief Executive Officer at Universities Australia Catriona Jackson said that around 80,000 international students have returned to Australia after more than two years of being stranded abroad, Erudera.com reports.

She praised international students’ commitment to Australian education and the resilience that the latter have shown studying remotely from their home countries for such a long time.

“Anyone who has walked across a campus this week would have felt the excitement building as students and staff are reunited after what has been a long period apart for so many,” Jackson said.

Two weeks ago, nearly 13,500 students arrived in Australia, marking a 33 percent increase compared to a week earlier.

Jackson described the high number of returning students in Australia as “a milestone worth celebrating,” adding that there are many other students waiting to return to the country who will be welcomed by universities and their domestic peers.

“The sector, of course, faces a significant road to recovery and the full picture for 2022 and beyond will take time to form. Universities know they’re not out of the woods, confronting revenue hits and job losses as consequences of COVID-19,” she said.

In her statement, Jackson also pointed out that Universities Australia will continue to rebuild and work with communities to achieve that in the national interest. 

>> Leading Universities in Australia & UK Pledge to Strengthen Academic Ties

Data have shown that more than 56,000 international students have entered Australia since November 2021, with 7,000 students arriving in the country only between January 23 and 30, this year.

“Fully vaccinated International Students and Working Holiday Makers have been encouraged to return to Australia now to support our economic recovery and to commence studies through the launch of a new Visa Application Charge (VAC) refund window for eligible travelers,” a statement from the Department of Home Affairs reads.

Western Australia has also decided to allow international students enrolled in a primary school, secondary school, university, or other further education courses, to enter the state. The government has announced a new pathway under which up to 6,000 international students will be permitted to enter.

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