It started with great news earlier this week. As of Monday, 30 November 2020, 63 people are international landed safely in Darwin. They are the first to return since the border closed in March. Now, they are in quarantine and will start on campus in a few weeks. This is the most positive news international students have had in months, sparking talk of more pilot programs to come. The question “When will Australia open its borders for international students?” finally got a more positive answer – not just “maybe”, but “soon” or in a matter of months.
Then came a statement by the Federal Minister of Education Dan Tehan. All Australian states not ready with their plans to welcome international players. Some don’t even give an indication of when they will prepare their plans. “I am writing to all states and territories asking them to submit plans for international student arrivals by the end of November,” Tehan said. What is going on? What is the process for Australia to open borders again? Here’s the state breakdown of the most recent state:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
ACT is expected to deliver its plans to the Morrison government this week.
New South Wales
The New South Wales government is expected to present its plans to the Morrison government this week. Previously, New South Wales Minister of Works, Investment, Tourism and West Sydney Stuart Ayres worked to return international students early next year. The absence of international students due to the pandemic has seen the state face an AU $ 2.5 billion hit to its broader economy.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian is championing the reopening of its borders so international students can return and boost the economy, and wants state borders to be opened to international students in the next few weeks.
The Northern Territory Government is expected to present its plans to the federal government this week. Charles Darwin University (CDU) today “Hold discussions” for charter flights for international students stranded in India in the first six months of next year, according to SBS Punjabi. “Following the success of our first pilot flight on Monday, CDU is working with the Northern Territory Governments and Australia to arrange further flights by 2021,” said a CDU spokesman.
There is no timeline for this northeastern state yet. Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out expanding international arrivals to include students, saying it would be too burdensome for the hotel quarantine system and that this is not the time to allow international students in even though other states are launching welcome mats, reports news.com.au.
South Australia is currently working on a proposal for the return of international students. According to earlier reports, the South Australian pilot program – proposed by the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Flinders University – will see about 300 international students fly to the state between November 2020 and January 2021.
The South Australian pilot program was announced in August 2020 but was previously postponed due to concerns about international arrivals. International students are reported to make more than two billion Australian dollars per year in the South Australian economy.
Paradise? Yes, but there is no time limit regarding the return of international students.
Victoria is currently working on their proposal for international student returns.
Western Australia has not yet provided a timetable for returning international students.
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