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NSW & ACT universities work to return their overseas students

The past 18 months have been especially challenging for the international students enrolled in Australian education providers. The student visa processing for offshore applicants is just about frozen and the majority of those who hold valid student visa but were caught by the border closures outside Australia are still waiting for an adequate program to allow them to return to continue with their studies.


Whilst the Government has made series of changes to allow for the remote studies of the overseas students stuck outside Australia while holding a valid student visa to be considered to have studied in Australia for the purpose of meeting the Australian study requirements for further Temporary graduate visa, most are keen to return to Australia and to face to face learning.

The NSW government has approved a plan to bring international students back as soon as August of this year which involves using vacant university accommodation as the quarantine centres. The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet expressed their support and approval for the proposal to enable 250 international students to come to Sydney per fortnight. It is a fine line to juggle the return of international students and ensure the precious few plane seats taken by international students are not at the expense of the existing caps on returning Australian citizens.


The chief executive of the International Education Association, Phil Honeywood announced that some 600-bed student accommodation site was already approved for quarantining the students for the mandatory 14 days. The participating universities are to collaborate on a fair and efficient system to share the limited spots amongst their international students and decide who comes into the country first and are to engage joint travel agent to source flight.


In collaboration, NSW and ACT universities have received interim authorisation by ACCC to work on travel arrangements for the return of international students to Australia. You can read more about the authorisation decision here and the about the participating universities applicants to the ACCC and their application here.


The drop in international students enrollments for this year are around 43,000 fewer than last year. The Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge must review and approve the proposal before it proceeds.


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