South Australia approves plan for return of international students

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The South Australian government has approved a plan to let incoming international students serve two weeks quarantine at Parafield Airport in Adelaide, reported ABC News. The new proposal by the state government, which is still pending endorsement by the federal government, would see CBD medi-hotels continue to be used for returning Australians.

Last year’s plan to bring international students back to the state was scuppered amid public backlash over the slow process to repatriate Australian citizens. A state government spokesperson was quoted saying that chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier had approved the plan to welcome international students as it met all the protocols and requirements of the Commonwealth.

International education is a key economic driver of the South Australian economy. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show South Australia’s international education sector was valued at 2.2 billion Australian dollars in 2019. Salisbury Mayor Gillian Aldridge said the council — working with the state government — will do its best to ensure its community remains safe.

Universities in South Australia are advocating for the swift return of international students after recent data showed they have suffered a 33% enrolment dip during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 20% fewer Chinese students enrolled; among Indian enrollees, the figure is 35%. Industry insiders, therefore, find the mid-2022 estimation for international student return rather worrying, especially in view of the COVID-19 situation in South Asia.

Previously, Flinders University’s vice-president and pro-vice-chancellor Sebastian Raneskold told News Corp Australia a major part of this is the “urgent activation” of an international student return plan. “This could include dedicated quarantining facilities for international students to ensure their return doesn’t affect general repatriation efforts,” he was quoted saying.

Previously, Australia’s budget announcement hinted at an international student return later this year. Small, phased programs could kick off by year-end and gradually increase from 2022. In a recent interview with Sky News, federal education minister Alan Tudge confirmed that plans are being developed by New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

Source: Study International


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