More International Students Returning to Australian University Campuses

Australia Oceania COVID-19 Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Jan 17, 2022

International students at university

Australian universities are welcoming more international students to their campuses ever since the country reopened its borders. Last week, more than 20 international students touched down in Canberra after a nearly two-year ban on their entry.

As part of a pilot plan between Australian Capital Territory (ACR) and New South Wales (NSW), the Australian National University and the University of Canberra welcomed the group of over 20 students, six from the University of Canberra, who arrived in Australia through a flight from China, reports.

“This international student return is something we have been working toward for a long time, so I would like to thank all our partners and those who made it happen,” UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Geoff Crisp said.

As a result of the pause on international border reopening for eligible visa holders, in its website, the University of Canberra notes that it has introduced an International Return Subsidy (IRS) to financially assist international students who have been affected by “changing travel reservations, unanticipated quarantine expenses and testing requirements”.

International students bring around $1 billion to Canberra annually, with each student adding $50,000 to the ACT economy through their spending in the country and tuition fees.

After Australia reopened its borders, other universities across the country begun welcoming their international students. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has announced this month that it has welcomed some 144 international students through the NSW pilot program.

“Amazing to see more smiling faces returning to Sydney over the break. AirplaneParty popper We’ve now welcomed 144 international students across 3 flights via the NSW pilot program, plus many who have arrived directly. We can’t wait for even more of you to join us in Sydney across 2022,” the UNSW wrote in a Twitter post.

Following the decision to reopen borders to international students, Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson had said that Australia reopening borders would give heart to more than 130,000 international student visa holders.

International students enrolled at Australian universities were expected to begin their in-person studies by December 1 last year. However, due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant, the country postponed students’ return for two weeks, leaving thousands of them frustrated over the decision.

Australia decided to open to international students on December 15, requiring the latter to be vaccinated with one of the vaccines recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as well as to follow the requirements imposed by states and territories.

However, there are still international students unable to return to Australia due to issues in their universities or because of being vaccinated with vaccines which are not approved by the Department of Home Affairs. 

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