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Australia is not putting international students first when it comes to travel rules

Sports persons and others are being allowed to enter Australia, but international students remain in limbo.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   14-01-2021

international students first when it comes to travel rules

New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia will be halving the numbers of international students to a total of 2500 students per week according to reports by The Pie News. The numbers appear shocking when we pit them against the usual number of international students arriving in Australia annually – 100,000. Now, according to news reports, South Australia will take a mere 600, and Victoria only 1120.

In late 2020, New South Wales had announced that it would bring in 1,000 students every week. But with higher incidence of COVID cases, the government has pressed pause. According to news reports, a pilot flight bringing in 300 international students has been postponed because of pressure from the public and political figures.

That said, although international students are not being allowed entry, the government has not put a stop to all international travel. It is prioritising the Australian residents who are abroad, as well as defence trainees, and sports professionals.

That makes Charles Darwin the only university to have successfully brought in 63 international students late last year in compliance with government health and safety requirements.

The International Education Association of Australia, the country’s apex education body, expressed concerns over the fallout from the policy change. Phil Honeywood, CEO, told the media that this move might put a strain on international students’ loyalty. He said, “They’ve been very patient and in some ways treating it like a gap year and others have persisted with being taught offshore, online, but at the end of the day, if you’re paying significant tuition fees, you want that face to face to lecture and tutorial development, which is very difficult to get in the same manner in an online world.”

In the context of relaxations made against travellers from other sectors these restrictions seems particularly harsh. Mr. Honeywood described the situation as unconscionable continuing that the IEAA would work towards urging to government to support international student entry.

Australia’s education sector, it’s 4th biggest export, has already been damaged by COVID19, and growing mistrust in the international student cohort. Leaving students in a limbo has the potential to bring the higher education industry to its knees.


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