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Fully vaccinated international students can re-enter Australia from December

Australia is ready to re-open borders but re-entry rules vary across states and territories.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   25-11-2021

BrainGain Magazine
Photo by Hugo Heimendinger from Pexels

Australia is opening its borders for fully vaccinated international students from December 1st.

To be eligible for entry, international students must be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) with the second dose being administered at least seven days before departure, offer proof of vaccination status, and hold a valid student visa. They will also need to provide a negative PCR test report taken within three days before departure according to The Pie News.

However, international students must check quarantine requirements in the state or territory where they will be living. New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory have quarantine-free arrival plans for international students.

Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia told the media, “This is great news which will give heart to 130,000 international students with visas waiting to return to Australia.” She added that they were looking forward to further detail so they could bring students back in time for their first semester next year.

Regional Universities Network’s Executive Director Alec Webb said this exemption-free travel is welcome news for international students and local communities, “Regional communities, businesses, and universities are incredibly enthusiastic and excited to welcome prospective and returning international students back to Australia’s regions.” (The Pie News)

However, even with vaccinations and negative PCR tests, students must note that commercial flights to Australia are at 40% capacity. The visa and vaccination proof processing at the border is also a major hurdle according to the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA).

“Our fractured federal system at this stage will require returning international students to quarantine in Queensland and South Australia,” IEAA chief executive Phil Honeywood said in a statement.

“For this reason, some students are likely to enter Australia through Sydney or Melbourne airports, spend 14 days in those states before taking a domestic flight into South Australia and Queensland. For Western Australia, they will have to wait a bit longer (expected mid to late January).”

Acknowledging the confusion over how and when students can enter, Catriona Jackson added, “National consistency on return arrangements is very important and, as a nation, we have work to do on that front.”

“Universities understand the uncertainty felt by international students around how and when they can return, and we pay tribute to their resilience and loyalty during almost two years separated from their campuses.”
 

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