Australian borders have been shut for international travel since March 2020, but are now slowly opening up again. On November 30th, 63 international students landed in Darwin, have completed the mandatory quarantine and are set to start on campus soon. Now that this pilot project has been successful, it is expected that more international students can now look forward to commencing in-person classes soon. The question is, when exactly will this happen? We bring you a state-by-state breakdown!
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
ACT has submitted their re-opening plans to the Morrison government and we are waiting for updates.
New South Wales
The New South Wales government would also have submitted their plans to the Morrison government in December. New South Wales Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres has been working to bring international students back early in 2021. The pandemic has left the state facing an AU$2.5 billion hit to its wider economy, and a large part of this was due to the absence of international students.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been advocating the reopening of borders so that international students can return, and it is expected that the state’s borders will be open to international students shortly.
It is expected that the Northern Territory government will also follow suit, having submitted their plans to the federal government and hoping to open borders soon. Charles Darwin University (CDU) is currently discussing plans for a charter flight for international students stranded in India in the first six months of next year, and the CDU spokesman stated that CDU is working with the Northern Territory and Australian governments to arrange further flights in 2021.
There has been no timeline as yet from this north eastern state. Despite other states rolling out the welcome mat, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk felt that expanding international arrivals to include students is likely to put too much strain on the hotel quarantine system. It was felt that it is not yet the time to allow international students to enter, as reported by news.com.au.
It is expected that South Australia’s pilot program, proposed by Adelaide University, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Flinders University will see some 300 international students fly into the state before the end of January 2021. Further proposals for the return of international students are underway.
This pilot program had been announced in August 2020 but was pushed back due to concerns about international arrivals. International students contribute over two billion Australian dollars per year for the South Australian economy, and their absence has hit the state hard.
This paradise island has not rolled out any timeline regarding the return of international students as yet.
The state of Victoria is currently working on their proposals for the return of international students.
Western Australia is another state that has yet to advise a timeline for a plan on the return of international students.