Here’s some welcome news for international students in Australia — the Commonwealth government is reportedly campaigning for Australian states to open their borders to international travellers, reported Sky News. Currently, New South Wales and Victoria are open to fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning from international travel.
Pressure is on for Australian states and territories to reopen their borders
While the easing of Australia’s borders is currently limited to Australians, it could pave the way for the reopening of the country’s borders to other groups of people. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the federal government would keep putting pressure on Australian states who still have their borders shut.
Frydenberg said it is “absurd” that international arrivals do not have to quarantine in New South Wales and Victoria, but Australian residents have to quarantine when travelling domestically.
“We want to see those borders open, we will continue to put the pressure on,” he was quoted saying. “It’s really pleasing that in New South Wales and in Victoria they’ve removed the need for hotel quarantine if you’re double vaccinated and you’re an Australian resident or citizen travelling internationally.”
Both Victoria and New South Wales hit their 80% vaccination target, paving the way for the reopening of their borders. Frydenberg said as vaccination rates improve, he hopes to see all states reopen their borders, allowing for the return of tourists and international students.
Frydenberg also supported a pilot programme in New South Wales that will see some 500 fully vaccinated international students arriving in December. “They’ll work to make that effective and of course build on that programme,” said the treasurer.
“I’m confident we will see the international student market pick up quickly, so too with international tourists, this is what learning to live with COVID is all about. With Australia’s double vaccination rate hitting those very high marks… it does augur well for the rest of the country as those vaccination rates go up, those borders can come down.”
Under the first stage of the Victorian Government’s Student Arrivals Plan, 120 places will be available each week for Victorian university students, prioritising those who need to undertake practical work to continue or complete their degrees, such as health and medical degree students, as well as postgraduate research students.
What we know about other Australian states and territories
The ACT government is reportedly not submitting a final plan for international students to return to the federal government, and is working off the expectation that international borders will reopen by the beginning of the next academic year. The territory government will submit a plan if the Australian government requires it.
Western Australia announced that it will require anyone entering from New South Wales, Victoria or the ACT to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from November 5. There’s no definitive timeline when international students can return to Western Australia yet.