Places of Students Returning to Australia Must Be In Addition to Cap, Federal Govt Says

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

Australia

For a while now, states and universities across Australia have been working to return international students to the country and save the multibillion-dollar sector; nevertheless, none of the states have managed to have their plans processed yet, the federal government has revealed.

The federal government refused the proposal of the Victorian government to provide every week 120 of an allocated 1,120 hotel quarantine places to those individuals from whom the economy can benefit, including international students, as the government wants student places to “be in addition to the cap.”

However, Victorian universities have re-proposed their plan on returning 1,000 international students to Melbourne every two or three weeks by paying for their flights and arranging their quarantine places, Erudera.com reports.

According to the Acting Premier and Education Minister James Merlino, although the plan submitted earlier to the federal government was rejected, the Victorian government will continue to make attempts to find a solution for the matter.

“[The federal government] want it separate to the cap, and we’ve made it clear that our cap is 1000 and we can do a further 120 for economic cohorts,” he further said, adding that the government is working with universities and Commonwealth in order to re-prosecute the plan to exceed the cap.

He also said that they are as well working on a revised plan to submit it to the Commonwealth for confirmation.

Most recently, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City of Melbourne have asked the state and federal governments to carry out pilot programs through which students would be able to return for the second semester this year.

It called for $100 million funding in the 2021-22 budget submission last week to establish a task force through which international students would be assisted in re-engaging with the Victorian higher education sector online.

On Thursday, the Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said the government has not yet received any plan meeting the criteria, from any state or territories, regarding international students’ return.

“One being that they must have quarantine beds above and beyond the quarantine beds available for returning Australians. And two, there must be measures which are ticked off by chief medical officers [of the state or territory]. I haven’t received any concrete proposal that satisfies these two criteria from Victoria or anywhere else,” he said.

Earlier, Minister Tudge and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that returning Australians back home was the government’s priority.

A spokesperson for the Deakin University, which has also joined government consultations and advocacy, said that the university is doing its utmost to find a solution in returning international students safely, adding that any measures in assisting these students will be in compliance with government rules and advice.

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