australia's borders opening
A man walks past a sign urging people to wear face masks in Melbourne on August 14, 2020 as the city battles an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Source: William West/AFP

Australia’s borders will be opening soon for international students. It was just announced yesterday that approximately 300 students will be arriving in early September, as part of a pilot programme to kickstart the international education sector.

Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that this pilot programme is “very important” for the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a very important next step in terms of the recovery from the economic disaster of COVID-19. International education is a huge services export industry for Australia and South Australia.”

“It underpins many thousands of jobs and it is important that we figure out how we can get international students back to Australia safely and appropriately.”

Here’s what you should know as an international student hoping to return to Australia soon.

Adelaide will be the first to receive international students

australia's borders opening

A traveller walks past a sign for Virgin Australia in the departures area at Adelaide Airport in Adelaide on April 21, 2020. Source: Brenton Edwards/AFP

Birmingham said that Adelaide, South Australia, was the chosen location for the trial run.

There are currently seven active COVID-19 cases in the state of South Australia. The most recent one was reported yesterday, after a man returned from India on August 4 tested positive on day 12 of his quarantine.

Other states are currently seeing a spike in positive cases, making them unlikely to receive international students soon.

Australia’s borders may be opening in South Australia for international students, but they remain tightly closed in other states.

In Victoria, it was recently reported that 25 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, making it the biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 fatalities. The state has been on lockdown for the past couple of weeks after a second outbreak emerged.

Universities will bear quarantine costs

The first cohort of 300 international students that Australia’s borders are opening up for will be arriving on a flight from Singapore. Most of these students are originally from China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

They must undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine period before returning to classes. ABC News reported that universities have agreed to pay for the hotel quarantine programme for students.

In his announcement, Birmingham said, “We want to make sure that anything that happens in relation to international arrivals coming into Australia is done with the strictest of safety standards in place. I also want to stress as well that no taxpayer dollars will be used in terms of supporting students flying into Australia or quarantining as is required.”

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