Australian Universities to Finally Welcome International Students Next Week

Australia Oceania COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Dec 10, 2021

international students return

International students enrolled at Australian universities who have been waiting for the country to reopen borders for almost two years are finally expected to return to campuses next week, from December 15, 2021.

Although Health Minister Greg Hunt said there aren’t any guarantees that Australia will reopen its borders to international students and visa holders in mid-December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated that the country is likely to open up to students next week, Erudera.com reports.

According to Morrison, the government is currently receiving more advice, pointing out that the country will “keep moving forward, not to go back”.

Meanwhile, the Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan also pointed out that the return of international students and skilled migrants is “on track” to happen on December 15.  

“Obviously, [the] National Cabinet will meet on Friday, but everything we’re seeing from this new variant points to the fact that we should be able to progress on the 15th,” Tehan also told Sky News Australia.

International students were expected to return to Australia in early December; however, due to concerns related to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, the country delayed border reopening from December 1 to December 15.

Despite the delay, some international students have been able to travel to Australia under International Student Arrivals Plan. Australian states whose International Student Arrival Plans have been approved by the government are:

  • New South Wales
  • South Australia
  • Victoria
  • Queensland

Some 250 international students already returned to Sydney on December 6, while another group is expected to return on December 24.

The Australian government has required students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the vaccines recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before returning to campuses. Students have also been advised to follow the date with quarantine and testing requirements which are different in each state.

Furthermore, the federal government said that it would extend emergency powers for another two months until February 2022 while adding that it will keep in effect mandatory face coverings for international students and travelers from high-risk countries.

Due to the pandemic, Australia has lost thousands of international students, many of whom have considered other study destinations. The country announced it is working on a new strategy for international education for 2021 to 2030 in order to encourage more students to choose Australia as a study destination again.

“Looking further ahead, the Australian Government is also developing a new strategy for international education over 2021-2023 to guide the recovery of the sector, strengthen the sector’s resilience to market disruptions and to support growth,” a spokesperson for the Department of Education told Erudera.

The strategy aims to help the education sector to deliver quality education which will contribute to global changes.  

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