International students from only these countries will be returning to Australia in 2020

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Up to 70 international students from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia will touch down in Darwin on 30 November as part of the Northern Territory’s Charles Darwin University (CDU) pilot program to bring back its international students.

Universities in South Australia were forced to pause on their student return plan due to concerns over growing coronavirus infections in Adelaide.

Students from five countries will travel to Singapore to be connected to the pilot fight, which will depart Changi Airport and touch down in Darwin, while the remainder of Australia’s 135,000 students stranded offshore will have to wait until next year for their turn to return to the country.

Those returning are a mix of new and currently enrolled students in a range of VET, undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programs including Law, Nursing, IT, Teaching, Accounting and Engineering.

“Students are travelling from countries which have permission to transit via Singapore. Continuing students have also been given priority,” said the CDU spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that almost 90 per cent of approximately 70 seats on the Singapore Airlines flight have been filled, with the remaining seats are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Strategy and Advancement, Andrew Everett said the flight which was originally scheduled to land in Darwin in mid-November was rescheduled to arrive on 30 November to allow students extra time to get visas. 

“The students are excited to come or return to the Northern Territory to study, and CDU is looking forward to welcoming them on campus, once they have been cleared by the Chief Health Officer,” said Mr Everett.

He added that all returning students will be immediately transferred to a government facility at Howard Springs for 14 days of mandatory quarantine upon arrival, to ensure there is no threat to the health and safety of the local Darwin community.

“CDU is adhering to the advice of the Chief Health Officer on all aspects relating to health and safety, including pre-departure health requirements, COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival. CDU staff will also deliver pastoral care to support students’ wellbeing,” said Mr Everett.

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