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Scott Morrison opens the door for international students to return to Australia


The federal authorities has confirmed it can take into account exempting international students from Australia’s journey ban as early as July.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed a national three-stage framework out of coronavirus restrictions on Friday that opened the door for overseas-based students to return to Australian universities.

Whereas specifics round the exemption haven’t been outlined, Mr Morrison stated it will solely be carried out if strict quarantine restrictions had been met.

“Issues of international students, you’ll note that it does come into the third step of the plan, that is a possibility,” he stated.

“We are open to that, and we would be working with institutions to see how that could be achieved.

“Nevertheless it should be carried out in accordance to these strict quarantine restrictions and the way that is carried out, and the way these prices are met.”

At least 10 per cent of international students enrolled at Australian institutions are stuck overseas with the industry worth $40 billion a year to the economy.

Australian universities are expected to record large losses as a result of forced campus closures and border restrictions.

The international education lobby has been pushing for an exemption to travel bans for international students. 

“Clearly with none international students coming into the nation, Australia’s fourth-biggest business is in a serious disaster,” International Education Association of Australia CEO Phil Honeywood said.

National COVID-19 Coordination Commission Chair Nev Power stressed the importance of rebooting education as quickly as possible and suggested the possibility of university-funded charter flights to bring overseas students back to Australia.

“There is a chance for the universities to work with the authorities to present secure processes … expedite these visas, get these international students again right here as fast as attainable,” Mr Power told the Australian Financial Review.

“We’ll want to put quarantine provisions in. We’ll want to be sure that unis are reconfigured to incorporate secure practices. However that approach we will speed up that as a result of proper now, this tutorial 12 months, you may have them again.”

However, the uncertainty faced by international students has left many considering if it is worth committing to another semester in Australia.

Belle Lim of the Council of International Students Australia said some students were choosing to defer their studies.

“The subsequent semester is beginning quickly, a few of them have obtained a conditional supply however they do not know if they need to take it,” she said.

“They do not know if they’ll come again to Australia in time.”

The peak body for Australian universities insists any rush for a return to face-to-face teaching will need to meet strict medical guidelines.

“The well being of our pupil and employees physique is at all times the primary precedence,” Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson said.

“None of this occurs if we do not get the OK to achieve this from well being authorities.”

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone’s app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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