No Border Changes in Australia: International Students Allowed to Enter Despite COVID-19 Cases

Australia Oceania COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Dec 24, 2021

international students’ return

Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases and fears over the Omicron variant, Australia has not announced any border changes that would prevent international students and other arrivals from entering the country.

During a press conference held on December 22, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Omicron as another challenge, but he also pointed out that Australia has been facing many struggles ever since this pandemic started,

He advised everyone to continue wearing masks and added that the state governments will set their own rules to manage the omicron’s spread. However, at the moment, it is uncertain whether the new policies will affect international students.

“There’s been plenty of discussion about whether the interval should be five months, four months, three months, that will be a decision for the vaccination experts at ATAGI,” Morrison stressed.

On December 15, Australia officially reopened borders to 230,000 visa holders and 133,000 students after more than a year. International students were expected to return to the country on December 1, 2021, but their return was delayed until mid-December amid concerns over the Omicron variant.

Nevertheless, on December 6, some 250 international students touched down in Sydney, and another group has been scheduled to return to the country as of today (December 24).

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said that international students make a rich contribution, both to the student experience and the entire community in Australia, pointing out that the country has missed international students’ presence.

 “Universities cannot emphasise enough the immense commitment our international students have shown by studying remotely, some for almost two years. We recognise the very real effects COVID-19 has had on their wellbeing, and the resilience they have shown amidst extreme uncertainty,” Jackson said.

Several reports have shown that Australian higher education reputation among international students was affected due to the pandemic, many of whom decided to change their study destination and mainly head to Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

According to new research by the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University, Canada, the UK, and the US have seen more international student visa applications despite the pandemic. Differently, Australia and New Zealand have faced a drop in the number of international students. 

In order to help the recovery of higher education and encourage more students to study at Australian universities, the Australian government earlier announced that it is working on a new strategy for international education 2021-2030.

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